2022 World Cup: Country profile – Morocco

Factfile on Morocco, who are in World Cup Group F:

Best World Cup performance: Second round in 1986

Other honours: African champions in 1976

FIFA ranking: 22

Main clubs: Raja Casablanca, Wydad Casablanca, Renaissance Berkane

How they qualified: Morocco defeated the Democratic Republic of Congo in a play-off

Coach: Walid Regragui, 47, has had little time to prepare the Atlas Lions having replaced Bosnian Vahid Halilhodzic on the last day of August this year. Born in Paris, he played right-back for a number of French clubs and one in Spain and was capped 45 times by Morocco, the home of his parents. His coaching career began in 2012 as a Moroccan national team assistant and he then guided clubs in the north African kingdom and in Qatar. The highlight of his coaching career came this year when he led Wydad Casablanca to victory over Egyptian giants Al Ahly in the CAF Champions League final.

Key player: A stand-off between Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech and Halilhodzic led to the change of coaches. The Bosnian accused him of feigning injury to avoid playing in warm-up matches last year, publicly calling it “unacceptable behaviour”. Ziyech, 29, responded by retiring from international football until Moroccan football officials intervened and dumped Halilhodzic. Regragui has hailed the Netherlands-born attacker as a “fighter who gives everything for his adopted country” but there are concerns about his lack of game time at Chelsea — he played just 17 minutes during October. There have been reports of a post-World Cup move to AC Milan.

Group fixtures

Nov 23: Morocco v Croatia

Nov 27: Belgium v Morocco

Dec 1: Canada v Morocco

Possible squad

Goalkeepers: Yassine Bounou (Sevilla/ESP), Munir Mohamedi (Al Wehda/KSA), Ahmed Tagnaouti (Wydad Casablanca)

Defenders: Yahia Attiyat Allah (Wydad), Achraf Dari (Brest/FRA), Achraf Hakimi (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA), Noussair Mazraoui (Bayern Munich/GER), Samy Mmaee (Ferencvaros/HUN), Romain Saiss (Besiktas/TUR), Jawad el Yamiq (Valladolid/ESP)

Midfielders: Selim Amallah (Standard Liege/BEL), Sofyan Amrabat (Fiorentina/ITA), Younes Belhanda (Adana Demirspor/TUR), Ilias Chair (QPR/ENG), Amine Harit (Marseille/FRA), Yahya Jabrane (Wydad), Azzedine Ounahi (Angers/FRA), Abdelhamid Sabiri (Sampdoria/ITA)

Forwards: Zakaria Aboukhlal (Toulouse/FRA), Sofiane Boufal (Angers/FRA), Walid Cheddira (Bari/ITA), Abde Ezzalzouli (Osasuna/ESP), Munir el Haddadi (Getafe/ESP), Ryan Mmaee (Ferencvaros), Youssef En-Nesyri (Sevilla), Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea/ENG)

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