Morocco: Mambo 3 muhimu usiyoyafahamu kuhusu timu ya Morocco
The North African team became the first African and Arab team to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup this Saturday, after beating Portugal 1-0, after their victory against Spain, where they surprised many.
And it is that until the start of the championship, no one gave Atlas Lions a chance to reach that distance.
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But it has been a historic step, starting with the qualification as the leader of Group F, over Croatia (world runner-up), Belgium (number 2 in the FIFA list) and Canada (Concacaf World Cup qualification leader).
Here we share 3 surprising facts about the Moroccan team.
- The first African and Arab country to reach the semi-finals
Although soccer creates a great sensation in some twenty countries of the Middle East and Africa, only three African teams have reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup but none have managed to go beyond that so far.
With their victory over Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal with a goal that resulted from an impressive jump from Youssef En-Nesyri, the Moroccans ensured that they were among the best four in the world.
The only teams outside of Europe and South America to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup were the USA in 1930 and South Korea in 2002.
Morocco’s performance in Qatar 2022 has been amazing: they started with a draw (0-0) against Croatia, beat Belgium 2-0 and won 2-1 against Canada in the group stage.
In the round of 16 they drew 0-0 against Spain in 120 minutes and won 3-0 on penalties.
And against Portugal they managed to deal with the attacking strategy of their opponents and won with Youssef En-Nesyri’s goal.
- Most of them were born outside of Morocco
The migration of Moroccans, especially to European countries, is reflected in their selection.
Of the squad with 26 players, 14 were born outside of Morocco: Bounou, El Kajoui, Hakimi, Mazraoul, Saiss, Amrabat, Ziyech, Zorouy, Chairman, Aboukhlal, Amallah, Boufai, El Khannous and Chedira.
Four of them were born in Holland, four in Belgium, two in France, two in Spain, one in Italy and one in Canada.
That has led to other surprising facts, such as the story of the goal scorer that decided the match against Spain on penalties, Achraf Hakimi, who was born in Madrid and probably played for La Roja.
“I went to try out with the Spanish team, but I saw that it wasn’t my place, I didn’t feel at home. It wasn’t for anything in particular, but for what I felt, because it’s not what I experienced and lived at home, which is the Arab culture, being in Morocco. I wanted to be in the Moroccan team,” he told Spanish newspaper Marca ahead of the World Cup.
Hakimi made his debut with Real Madrid in 2017 after going through the team’s process
The 24-year-old defender actually trained on the grounds of Real Madrid, the club he made his debut for in 2017, the year they won the Spanish Super Cup.
- Has conceded just one goal in all World Cups
Another noteworthy fact about the team is that they have conceded only one goal so far in the tournament.
Until this Saturday, they are the team with the fewest goals in this World Cup.
Croatia is next tied 2.