News Matches
World Cup

Morocco breaking 36-year World Cup jinx 'unforgettable and indescribable' - winger Ezzalzouli

12:28 EAT 04/12/2022
Morocco 2022 World Cup Canada
Morocco winger Abde Ezzalzouli feels they can beat any team at the 2022 Fifa World Cup as they prepare to face Spain in a Round of 16 tie on Tuesday.
  • Morocco surprisingly topped Group F
  • Reached the knockouts for the first time since 1986
  • Winger relishes facing Spain in last 16

WHAT HAPPENED? The Atlas Lions topped Group F to reach the Round of 16 for the first time since 1986. Three other appearances at the quadrennial global tournament in 1994, 1998 and 2018 saw their campaigns ending at the group stage.

But this time around, they beat Belgium and Canada, as well as drawing with Croatia to emerge two points clear at the top of Group F. Osasuna winger Ezzalzouli has described making it to the Round of 16 as “unforgettable and indescribable.”

WHAT EZZALZOULI SAID: “After 36 years, we are making history again and we have celebrated it,” said Ezzalzouli as per SNTV.

“We have been very happy, dancing and celebrating in the locker room. These days have been unforgettable and indescribable. We trust ourselves and we think we can beat any team by trying hard and working hard and if God is on our side, we will win.”

AND WHAT MORE?: Toulouse forward Zakaria Aboukhlal is confident they can go beyond the Round of 16. With Morocco having one of the most colourful and vociferous fan bases in Qatar, Aboukhlal feels the backing can spur them to further progression in the tournament.

WHAT ABOUKHLAL SAID: “I am very happy to have reached the last 16. We do not want to stop here,” Aboukhlal said. “We want to go further beyond, and God willing we will keep going. We are very happy for Moroccan fans. We see many people who came here from Morocco. I would like to thank them. God willing we will be able to continue [in the tournament] more and more.

“'I am very happy with the way Arabs here are helping one another. We were happy when Saudi Arabia defeated Argentina. We also felt when we defeated Belgium and Canada that other Arab countries were happy for us.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Morocco are one of the two African teams remaining in this tournament. Senegal are the other team still campaigning after Ghana, Cameroon and Tunisia were sent packing. It is to be seen how far Morocco and Senegal will go in the World Cup as both teams seek to get past the quarter-finals which is the best an African team has ever reached.

STORY IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR MOROCCO? The Atlas Lions meet 2010 champions Spain at Education City Stadium on Tuesday. Spain finished as Group E runners-up.