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Morocco's fourth-place finish 'not enough' - Regragui wants regular semis or quarter-finals in World Cup

7:55 AM GMT 18/12/2022
Walid Regragui
Morocco coach Walid Regragui insists the Atlas Lions have to make it a norm to reach the latter stages of the World Cup.
  • Morocco finished fourth in Qatar
  • Regragui not content
  • Targets semis in subsequent World Cups

WHAT HAPPENED: Morocco started their journey in Group F whereby they drew with Croatia and defeated Belgium and Canada to finish at the top.

In the Round of 16, they eliminated Spain before sending Portugal home in the quarter-finals. However, defending champions France stopped them in the last four.

On Saturday, Croatia missed out on the bronze medal after falling to Croatia 2-1 in the third-place playoff. Despite many football fans feeling the Atlas Lions have done well, Regragui insists the team has to perform at the World Cup consistently.

WHAT HE SAID: "The doubts were in the minds of everyone before this tournament but we have gone further than expected and it is not enough," Regragui told the media.

"That needs to set the example for the future. Something that has touched me is when I see the pictures of children because football makes people dream. We have allowed children to dream, we have kept those dreams alive.

"Children in Morocco and around the world dream of winning the World Cup and that means more to me than winning any game at the World Cup.

"We have made a fantastic achievement but we want to do that again. If we can keep reaching the semi-final or quarter-final regularly, one day we will win the World Cup."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Morocco’s two defeats at the 2022 World Cup came in the matches where they had their two highest possession figures of the tournament - 61% against France and 49% against Croatia. Prior to these two matches, Morocco had averaged just 31% possession and gone unbeaten in five games whereby they won three and drew two.

Moreover, Morocco kept four clean sheets in this World Cup edition with goalkeeper Yassine Bounou keeping strikers at bay on three occasions.

IN TWO PICTURES:

WHAT NEXT: Regragui will now prepare his team for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers that resume in March.