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World Cup

Morocco coach Regragui: African teams can give Europe and South America a run for their money

3:12 AM GMT+4 01/12/2022
Morocco's head coach Walid Regragui.
Morocco head coach Walid Regragui doesn't want to be complacent for their 2022 World Cup match against Canada on Thursday.
  • The Atlas Lions need to avoid defeat to reach the Round of 16
  • Regragui warned that eyeing a draw against Canada would be a mistake
  • Morocco have never lost to Canada

WHAT HAPPENED? The Atlas Lions are coming into their final Group F match oozing with confidence having claimed an impressive 2-0 win over a highly-fancied Belgium side on Sunday.
Morocco will be up against a Canada side that has already been eliminated from the tournament, but Regragui feels the Canucks have nothing to lose.
The 47-year-old tactician also made it known that his side will play to win even though a draw would be enough to send them through, while also cautioning his charges against targeting a draw.

WHAT DID REGRAGUI SAY?: “It will be like playing a final. Canada have nothing to lose. They are already out and it is up to them to hold their heads high," Regragui told the media.
"We also have a lot to get out of the game and a lot to lose. What we wanted is to be ambassadors of our own destiny and not rely on other results. 
“Either a win or a draw, this is what we need. I don’t care what Canada need. They want to make their own history. Now it is our role to demonstrate that we are worthy of advancing," he continued.
“It would be an error to go in and give it 20 or 30%. We face a team who wants to win. We are there to win as well. Looking for the draw would be a mistake.”

AND WHAT IS MORE: The tactician believes African teams have already shown their potential and stand a chance of winning the competition in the future.

"Just to say I'm not here to be a politician, we represent Morocco and obviously Morocco and Moroccans are my priority. But obviously, we're also African like Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon and Tunisia, so we hope to fly the flag of African football high," Regragui added.

"Often African football has been described as sub-par, not as good as elsewhere, but in this World Cup, I think we've shown we can give anyone a run for their money. We're talking about European teams, South American teams, and I hope in the future we'll be seeing more African teams. Why not an African World Cup champion in the future?"

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Morocco are placed second on the Group F standings - level on points with leaders, Croatia who are set to square off with third-placed Belgium on Thursday.
The 1976 African champions would still progress to the Round of 16 if they lose to Canada and Croatia defeat Belgium.
Morocco have reached the knockout phase of the World Cup once - doing so in 1986, but they were eliminated by eventual runners-up West Germany in the Round of 16.
WHAT IS NEXT FOR REGRAGUI?: The 2021-22 Caf Champions League title-winning coach will be looking to ensure that Morocco maintain their unbeaten record against Canada.
The two teams have met three times with Morocco winning two games and the other match ending in a draw.