Morocco will be carrying the hopes of millions when they take on defending champions France in an explosive World Cup 2022 semi-final clash on Wednesday.
The African nation have surprised one and all with their dogged defence, conceding only once in their unbeaten run to the last four. But they will have to regroup once again as they prepare for defending champion France and their in-form striker Kylian Mbappe.
No longer content with just making it to the next stage, Moroccan manager Walid Regragui said his players now want to go all the way.
“I was asked if we can win the World Cup and I said, ‘Why not? We can dream, it doesn’t cost you anything to have dreams,’” said. “European countries are used to winning the World Cup and we have played top sides, we have not had an easy run. Anyone playing us is going to be afraid of us now.”
Among the many intriguing contests on offer at the Al Bayt Stadium will be the one between Mbappe and Achraf Hakimi.
The two Paris Saint-Germain stars are close friends at the club level but will but will put that to one side for the semi-final battle
Mbappe has scored five goals and delivered two assists at this World Cup while Hakimi has been key in helping Morocco concede only 10 shots on target in their five matches.
Hakimi celebrated his winning penalty against Spain in the last 16 by imitating a penguin – something he does with Mbappe and Sergio Ramos at PSG.
As Morocco, and the wider Arab and African world, prepare for what will be a memorable night in Qatar, we take a look at their route to the last four in the picture gallery above. To view the next image, click on the arrows or swipe if on a mobile device.