Morocco Among Four Best Teams In The World – Coach
Coach of Morocco Walid Regragui said his team are “among the four best teams in the world” after finishing fourth at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, while also making history by becoming the first African team to reach the semi-finals of the competition.
Morocco were beaten 2-1 by Croatia in the third-place playoff match at the Khalifa International Stadium in the city of Ar-Ryyan, Qatar.
However, Regragui lauded his young players saying they did everything he asked of them in the tournament, having beaten elite teams including Belgium, Portugal and Spain on their way to the semi-finals.
“We wanted to bring joy to our fans but we’re still happy, we’re among the four best teams in the world,” Regragui said.
“We provided everyone with a good show, we never gave up. Congratulations to Croatia, they deserve their third place. We are a young team that is still learning.”
Regragui said that his side felt the physical toll of an intense tournament after playing their seventh match.
“Sure, I am a little disappointed by this second consecutive defeat, but we did everything that we could,” Regragui added.
“Physically it was difficult, our players got tired, it was very intense. We wanted to make the fans more proud than they already were, that’s it.”
Morocco’s campaign in Qatar gave African football a huge morale boost after none of the five African sides made it out of the group phase at Russia 2018.
“I think we showed our strength, we showed that African football is prepared to face the top teams in the world with efficiency and playing at the highest level,” Regragui told a news conference.
“We probably will only realise what we accomplished in Qatar after four years, in the next World Cup. The pressure will also be greater, there will be expectation around us. It’s natural. We made a great achievement but we want to do it again. It will not be easy but that’s the objective.”
Regragui said he hoped their performance in Qatar would leave a lasting legacy for African football.
“Through experience you get stronger and I hope we learn and grow and build in our children in Africa a football DNA that lasts,” he said.
“We have now allowed children to dream, dream of being footballers and going to the World Cup. That is priceless. As for the impact in our country, we have set the bar high. I’m sure that in 15 years an African team will win the World Cup.”