FIFA World Cup 2022: Morocco Team Analysis
After defeating the Democratic Republic of the Congo 5-2 overall over a two-leg playoff, Morocco enters the FIFA World Cup.
Over the past few years, Morocco has quietly developed into one of the continents of Africa’s more powerful teams. Morocco had the highest xGD per 90 minutes in Africa during FIFA World Cup qualifying, coming in at +0.95.
Morocco thoroughly destroyed everyone in their path, even in the Africa Cup of Nations this past January, producing 11.2 xG while only conceding 2.87 xG in their six games. They lost in overtime to Egypt in the quarterfinals, which was a result they didn’t deserve. In fact, Morocco hasn’t lost the anticipated goals battle in any of their 17 straight games since March 2021 and in those 17 games, their opponents have only created more than one projected goal against them three times.
This Moroccan team has a ton of quality, and it all starts with their best player, right back Achraf Hakimi of PSG, who excels at advancing the ball and supplying the front line. Starting at the back, they have the seasoned goalkeeper Bono of Sevilla, the reliable centre back duo of Romain Sass and Nayef Aguerd, and another incredibly gifted full back in Noussair Mazraoui, who did not participate in the Africa Cup of Nations with the Moroccan team.
Morocco’s Group F Fixtures for FIFA World Cup
23 November, 13:00 (local time)
27 November, 16:00 (local time)
1 December, 18:00 (local time)
The Strategy and Methods used by Walid Regragui
Regragui has demonstrated flexibility with his footballing philosophy and approach during his coaching career. But in his most recent position with Wydad, he came across as a somewhat conservative coach who prioritized outcomes over efforts. Of course, this hasn’t stopped him from delivering on the greatest stages, as his team demonstrated against Al Ahly in the Africa Champions League final last May.
The Atlas Lions could line up in a variety of various ways based on the opponent’s playing style this World Cup given Regragui’s continuously changing coaching philosophy. There is no doubt that the coach has the necessary resources at his disposal to arrange his team either offensively or defensively as he pleases.
Regragui used an offensive 4-3-3 formation in his first two matches as coach against Chile and Paraguay. In the opponents’ half, he urged his squad to press (heavily depending on fullbacks Achraf Hakimi and Mazraoui), operate as a unit in the middle of the field, and close down as soon as possession is lost.
With the coach refusing to conform to his opponent’s playing style, Morocco played aggressively against Chile as the Atlas Lions sought to establish their superiority through their technically gifted players.
Achraf Hakimi, one of the first names on the team sheet, is a crucial player who has been instrumental for Morocco over the previous several years. The Paris Saint-Germain star’s contributions at the most recent Africa Cup of Nations and in the World Cup qualifying matches are highlighted by his performances.
The athlete, who will be 24 on the day of the competition, has extensive experience playing abroad, including in Russia in 2018. He is now counted on to be the game-changer, using his skill of set pieces or his lightning-quick speed on the right wing.
Watch Out for Sofiane Boufal in the FIFA World Cup
If Hakimi is the most well-known Moroccan performer, Boufal is regarded as the most talented. He is a one-on-one expert, able to create magical moments in the final third, and provides a spark to his team’s play.
The current Angers star scored three goals during the most recent Africa Cup of Nations, leading Morocco in scoring. He has recently taken on a more significant position, and Regragui is reluctant to let him go since he knows he is a player who can make something happen from nothing. Boufal is a quick, skilful, and cerebral striker who would complement En Nesryi, Ayoub El Kaabi, Walid Cheddira, or Abderrazak Hamdallah in attack.
The FIFA World Cup History of Morocco
Morocco will compete in its sixth World Cup. When they first played, it was in 1970, they only managed to win one out of three games. They were defeated by West Germany and Peru, although they managed to draw with Bulgaria.
The most notable of the three was their second appearance. Abdelkrim Merry, Aziz Bouderbala, and their teammates in 1986 defeated Portugal to get out of their group after drawing with Poland and England, but they barely lost to West Germany in the round of 16. The World Cups of 1994, 1998, and 2018 all ended with Morocco being eliminated in the group stage.