|Morocco ‘Rocky Balboa of this FIFA World Cup’, says coach Walid Regragui | Football News|
The injury-hit North Africans held on for a 1-0 victory at Al Thumama Stadium because of Youssef En-Nesyri’s headed objective late within the first half and can now face defending champions France within the semis. France beat England 2-1 within the fourth quarterfinal on Saturday.
The win over Portugal got here after knocking out Spain within the final 16 on penalties and beating the world’s second-ranked staff Belgium within the group stage.
“When you watch Rocky, you need to assist Rocky Balboa due to his arduous work and dedication and I feel we are the Rocky Balboa of this World Cup,” Regragui informed reporters.
“We’re changing into the staff that everybody loves at this World Cup, as a result of we’re displaying that even when you do not have as a lot expertise, in the event you present that want, coronary heart and perception, you’ll be able to obtain.
“I’m positive lots of you’ll say this can be a miracle, however we have gained with out conceding in opposition to Belgium, Spain, Portugal and that is the results of arduous work.”
Morocco will tackle holders France on Wednesday on the Al Bayt Stadium with the possibility to change into the primary nation from outdoors Europe or South America to achieve the ultimate.
There was no stopping that from Youssef En-Nesyri 💥#LetItFly with @qatarairways https://t.co/JhR5iUOsPt
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“We can dream. Why should not we dream about profitable the World Cup?” added Regragui, who solely took over as coach in August.
“It would not value you something to have goals. European international locations have been used to profitable the World Cup…
“We’ve performed some actually high sides, however up to now we’ve not achieved something.
“Anyone who performs us now must be on the high of their recreation to beat us, it will not be simple for them, that is the message I’m making an attempt to ship out.”
Morocco had already surpassed expectations by changing into solely the fourth African nation and first Arab nation to achieve the quarterfinals.
🤩 Moroccan historical past and the champions triumph once more!Another thrilling day accomplished the Semi-final line-up.… https://t.co/V8qNrV8SPj
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But they managed to go one step additional than Cameroon in 1990, Senegal’s 2002 facet and the Ghana staff of 2010.
“We got here up in opposition to a very nice Portugal staff. We’re drawing on all we’ve, we nonetheless have guys injured. We have a mindset,” Regragui informed France’s TF1.
“I informed the fellows earlier than the match we needed to write historical past for Africa. I’m very, very blissful.”
Regragui, a France-born former Morocco worldwide, had already made historical past of his personal as the primary African coach to take a staff into the World Cup quarter-finals.
Morocco have been with out injured defenders Noussair Mazraoui and Nayef Aguerd on Saturday, whereas captain Romain Saiss was stretchered off early within the second half.
“We’re very proud as a result of the gamers who did are available in did a improbable job,” mentioned Regragui. “We’re a 26-man squad and to get far on this event we’ll want all of them.”
Morocco nonetheless have the most effective defensive file within the World Cup. The solely time they’ve conceded in 5 matches was an personal objective in opposition to Canada.
“It’s loopy. We’re dwelling a dream and we do not need to get up. I’ve goosebumps,” mentioned winger Sofiane Boufal. “Everything we’ve, we deserve. We work arduous. It’s not over. There’s nonetheless the semifinal and god keen, the ultimate.”