World Cup Group F: Morocco's sprinkling of stars offer hope of a successful tournament

Likes of Hakimi, En-Nesyri and the return of Ziyech gives Regragui's side a chance of advancing from the group

Morocco will need Achraf Hakimi, centre, to be on top form if they are to progress from their group at the 2022 World Cup. AFP
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Morocco have qualified for successive World Cups for the first time since 1998, and will arrive in Qatar led by manager Walid Regragui.

The North African side booked their place in emphatic fashion after cruising through their qualifying group with six wins from six games before beating DR Congo 5-2 on aggregate across two legs in the play-off round.

Morocco will look to set up to frustrate their opponents in Qatar, but they are capable of playing progressively when they get the ball to their key players.

Paris Saint-Germain wing-back Achraf Hakimi is one of their leading stars, with their system ensuring that he is able to use his pace to get forward and influence the game from advanced areas.

While Morocco showed their ability to compete against the top teams at the 2018 World Cup with a 2-2 draw against Spain and narrow 1-0 defeat to Portugal, their attacking options have been improved by the form of Ayoub El Kaabi. The 29-year-old scored five goals in seven games during qualifying, and an impressive 2021/22 campaign in the Turkkish Super Lig with Hatayspor saw him finish with 18 league goals.

Of course, Sevilla’s Youssef En-Nesyri, who scored the equaliser against Spain in 2018, remains a threat after scoring in Morocco’s last two competitive matches over the summer.

And then there is the return of Hakim Ziyech. The Chelsea winger had retired from international football following a fall-out with previous manager Vahid Halilhodzic but has returned to the setup after discussions with Regragui.

Manager: Walid Regragui

Star Player: Achraf Hakimi

One to watch: Ayoub El Kaabi

World Cup finals appeared in: 1970, 1986, 1994, 1998, 2018

Fixtures: Nov 23 - Morocco v Croatia / Nov 27 - Belgium v Morocco / Dec 1 - Canada v Morocco

Updated: September 28, 2022, 8:41 AM
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