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Morocco starting XI vs Portugal: Ziyech and Hakimi to inspire Atlas Lions against Ronaldo’s side?

17:22 EAT 10/12/2022
Achraf Hakimi Hakim Ziyech Morocco.
The Portuguese captain, just like in their last game, has been dropped and will start from the bench

Morocco head coach Walid Regragui has named the starting XI to face Portugal in a World Cup quarter-final at Al Thumama Stadium on Saturday.

Regragui has made two changes, with Yahya Attiat-Allah and Jawad El Yamiq coming in as Noussair Mazraoui and Nayef Aguerd – regular starters in previous games – are not in the matchday squad.

The Atlas Lions caused another upset in Qatar when they eliminated Spain in the Round of 16 to book a date with Portugal in the last eight. On the other hand, the Selecao emphatically dispatched Switzerland to progress.

By making their way into the quarters, Morocco became just the fourth African side to reach the last eight at a World Cup; and the first in 12 years since Ghana in 2010.

This is how Morocco are lining up against Portugal:

  • Yassine Bounou Morocco 2022

    Yassine Bounou

    The penalty shootout hero against Spain keeps his place between the sticks as the Atlas Lions face another tough opponent from Europe.

    Going by his performance against Spain, much is expected of the Sevilla goalkeeper.

  • Achraf Hakimi Morocco 2022.

    Achraf Hakimi

    An ever-present figure in Regragui’s starting XI, Hakimi – who scored a decisive panenka against La Roja - keeps his place at right-back.

    The PSG fullback has been involved in the attacking mission and has done well when defending too.

    Given his profile in the team, hopes are high for him to produce another sublime performance.

  • Yahya Attiat-Allah Morocco.

    Yahya Attiat-Allah

    He has been Regragui’s second choice to Noussair Mazraoui, but he slots into the first XI at the expense of his closest rival.

    Attiat-Allah replaced Mazraoui in the 82nd minute during their match against Spain.

  • Romain Saiss.

    Romain Saiss

    As the captain, Saiss has led by example with some commanding performances at the back.

    As Atlas Lions face another ambitious rival, his solidity at the back will face a major test.

  • Jawad El Yamiq.

    Jawad El Yamiq

    El Yamiq was thrown into action when an injury scare hit Morocco’s regular starter at the heart of the defense, Aguerd.

    With Aguerd not available, El Yamiq fills the space.

  • Sofyan Amrabat Morocco.

    Sofyan Amrabat

    Amrabat has proven to be a key midfield anchor for the Atlas Lions.

    Opponents have found it rather hard to make their way past the midfield stalwart, and a good showing against Portugal is what is expected of him.

  • Azzedine Ounahi.

    Azzedine Ounahi

    He was withdrawn just before the post-match shootout against Spain for Badir Benoun, who came on and took the third penalty.

    Ounahi keeps his place and will operate closely with Amrabat in the middle of the park.

  • Selim Amallah Morocco 2022.

    Selim Amallah

    He returned to the starting XI to face Spain after being dropped for the match against Canada.

    Regragui has opted to maintain him in the first team as they tackle the Selecao.

  • Hakim Ziyech Morocco 2022.

    Hakim Ziyech

    Ziyech has put his struggles at Chelsea behind him and turned into an inspiring figure for Morocco in the tournament.

    His profile in the Moroccan side means Portugal will monitor him closely. Ziyech’s creativity and speed from the flanks are expected to give the Atlas Lions an edge in the showdown.

  • Youssef En-Nesyri.

    Youssef En-Nesyri

    Regragui has kept faith in the centre-forward, who has struggled for goals in Qatar.

    En-Nesyri has scored once – the second goal against Canada – and gets another opportunity to fight for glory.

  • Sofiane Boufal.

    Sofiane Boufal

    With his pace along the left flank, Boufal has been a constant threat.

    He is expected to create goalscoring chances for the North Africans hunting for a place in the last four.