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World Cup

Hakimi: ‘Morocco leave with our heads held high’ - Defender proud of historic World Cup run

20:16 GMT+3 15/12/2022
Achraf Hakimi.
Morocco defender Achraf Hakimi is proud of what they have achieved at the 2022 World Cup following their loss to France in the semi-finals.
  • Hakimi proud of Morocco’s World Cup performances
  • Defender feels the Atlas Lions cannot feel very disappointed
  • The North Africans made history by reaching the semi-finals

WHAT HAPPENED? The Atlas Lions made history by being the first African team to make it to the World Cup semi-finals and even though their dream of reaching the final was shattered by holders France, Hakimi says they leave with their heads held high.

WHAT DID HE SAY? “We gave it all,” Hakimi said via a social media post. “The dream of a team, of a whole country, is over. But we have to be proud of what we have done.”

“We fought until the last second and we leave with our heads held high. We will continue to try and give our all for this nation. Thanks to all Moroccans for your support.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Hakimi has been among the standout players for Morocco, putting in impressive performances in all six matches as he combined his defensive duties and offensive work.

The Paris Saint-Germain fullback acted as another attacking outlet for Morocco, especially at the group stages, when he constantly made forward runs to bring in crosses and also impressed in the knockout rounds when his team needed to be solid at the back as they kept Spain and Portugal at bay en route to the last four.

Morocco have been the revelation of the tournament after finishing top in their group, ahead of much-fancied Croatia and Belgium, before eliminating Spain and Portugal in the round of 16 and quarter-finals respectively, a run that saw them concede only once, an own goal, before France proved too powerful to beat them 2-0.

WHAT’S NEXT? Hakimi and his teammates still have the consolation prize of a bronze medal to play for with a meeting against Croatia scheduled for Saturday in the third-place playoff.