Morocco’s national team, commonly known as the Atlas Lions, is one of the giants of African football. They made their world cup bow in 1970 and will be making their fifth world cup appearance in 2018. Morocco is the team with the highest number of foreign-born players at the world cup, with a sizeable number of their contingent being born in the Netherlands and France.
Road to Russia
Morocco, coached by the Frenchman Herve Renard, qualified to the World Cup the hard way, beating the Ivory Coast 2-0 away from home to seal first place in a tricky group with also Gabon and Mali. Morocco’s defense was the bedrock of their successful qualification, conceding zero goals in their group. Led by Mehdi Benatia, who has turned out for European powerhouses Bayern Munich and Juventus, the defense Will be key for Morocco to advance from a manageable group containing Spain, Portugal, and Iran.
Morocco has performed well in world cup friendlies, albeit aga
inst weak opposition, with four wins and one draw in their five warm-up matches, including a 3-1 win over Estonia on 9 th June 2018.
Russia World Cup 2018 – Morocco’s squad
GOALKEEPERS: Mounir El Kajoui (Numancia), Yassine Bounou (Girona), Ahmad Reda Tagnaouti (Ittihad Tanger)
DEFENDERS:Mehdi Benatia (Juventus), Romain Saiss (Wolves), Manuel Da Costa (Basaksehir), Badr Benoun (Raja Casablanca), Nabil Dirar (Fenerbahce),Achraf Hakimi (Real Madrid), Hamza Mendyl (LOSC)
MIDFIELDERS: M’barek Boussoufa (Al Jazira),Karim El Ahmadi (Feyenoord), Youssef Ait Bennasser (Caen), Sofyan Amrabat (Feyenoord), Younes Belhanda (Galatasaray), Faycal Fajr (Getafe), Amine Harit (Schalke 04)
FORWARDS: Khalid Boutaib (Malatyaspor), Aziz Bouhaddouz (Saint Pauli), Ayoub El Kaabi (Renaissance Berkane), Nordin Amrabat (Leganes), Mehdi Carcela (Standard de Liege),Hakim Ziyech (Ajax)
Morocco will do well to advance from a group containing world cup favorites Spain, and Portugal led by Cristiano Ronaldo. The game against Portugal could be key while beating Iran is of utmost importance if they are to make the last 16, anything gotten from the game against Spain will be a bonus.