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2022 World Cup: 'I’m not a magician, but we didn't fear Spain' - Morocco coach Regragui unpacks winning game-plan

10:14 EAT 07/12/2022
Regragui WC
Morocco head coach Walid Regragui has opened the lid on how he masterminded Spain's downfall on Tuesday night.
  • The Atlas Lions' resolute defence kept the Red Fury at bay
  • Regragui lauded Bounou as a great goalkeeper
  • The North African side will now face Portugal this weekend

WHAT HAPPENED? The Atlas Lions overcame Red Fury 3-0 on penalties with goalkeeper Yassine Bounou being the hero following a 0-0 draw in the 2022 World Cup Round of 16 encounter which was played at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan. 
Spain, who won the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, were clear favourites coming into this encounter and Morocco allowed the European giants to dominate possession during the game.
However, the Atlas Lions' defence was solid and largely kept the Red Fury at bay and limited clear-cut chances. Regragui explained that their plan was to allow coach Luis Enrique's side to dominate possession.

WHAT DID REGRAGUI SAY?: “We had agreed not to take possession — not out of fear,” Regragui told the reporters.
“We are humble enough to say that we are not yet France, Germany or England, to compete with them in terms of possession. Nobody managed to steal the ball from them.
"So I accepted not having the ball. I’m not a magician. We knew that Spain depended on their ball possession and we played with that in mind. They didn't pose any danger," the France-born Moroccan tactician added.
“Having closed so many passing lines for 120 minutes, we knew we would have chances — we had two, three, four. We did not know how to punish them. 
"The game plan was respected, we got to penalties, and then it’s a lottery. But when you have such a great goalkeeper in goal, you know you have a better chance of succeeding.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Morocco reached the quarter-finals of the global tournament for the first time having previously been eliminated in the Round of 16 at the 1986 tournament.
The North African giants also joined Ghana, Senegal and Cameroon as the only African countries to reach the quarter-finals of the biggest sporting event in the world.
They are now the only African team that is left in the ongoing 2022 showpiece with Senegal, Cameroon, Tunisia and Ghana having been eliminated.

WHAT IS NEXT FOR MOROCCO?: The surprise win over Spain has earned the Atlas Lions a spot in the quarter-finals where they will face Portugal on Saturday.
The two teams will meet at Al Thumama Stadium in the city of Doha with a spot in the semi-finals at stake.