This post was written by regular writer, Shirrukerru Bannadubundu.
History at the World Cup
Morocco have qualified for the FIFA World Cup 5 times in total including this year’s edition. The African nation first qualified for the tournament in 1970 but failed to win even one game, thus getting knocked out in the group stages. They had to wait another 16 years to participate in their second world cup but the wait was worth it as they progressed to the Round of 16 for the first time in their history. They qualified again in the 1994 and the 1998 edition but faltered in the group stages both times. After qualifying for 3 of the last 4 world cups during those times, they had to wait for a very long 20 years to participate again. Morocco will hope that the extended waiting time will fire them up to perform well and get past the group stages for only the second time in history.
Morocco have played 9 official matches since the start of 2017 and their form has been great. After slumping to two consecutive close defeats to the Netherlands and Cameroon, they have largely improved, winning 6 games and drawing once. They have also won each of their last 5 games including impressive triumphs over AFC powerhouse South Korea, Serbia and Gabon. Morocco will look to keep up the good form before the all important tournament in friendlies against UEFA members Ukraine, Slovakia and Estonia.
Manager: Herve Renard
Goalkeepers: Munir Mohamedi, Ahmed Tagnaouti, Yassine Bounou
Defenders: Mehdi Benatia, Manuel da Costa, Oualid el Hajjam, Achraf Hakimi, Hamza Mendyl
Midfielders: Yassin Ayoub, Hakim Ziyech, Amine Harit, Sofyan Amrabat, Karim el Ahmadi, Faycal Faji, Younes Belhanda, Soufiane Boufal, Nabil Dirar, Zakaria Labyad, Mbark Boussoufa, Roman Saiss
Attackers: Nordin Amrabat, Aziz Bouhaddouz, Khalid Boutaib, Achraf Bencharki
25 year old Ajax midfielder Hakim Ziyech will be the player to watch for in this World Cup. Ziyech has been very impressive for Ajax, raking in 25 combined goals and assists in this season alone. Ziyech is very good at crossing, taking set pieces and dribbling and while he is lacking in the aerial duels department, he more than makes up for it with his brilliant hold up play and creative passing. If Morocco want to do well, Ziyech’s the man to lead them.
FIFA - 42(Current),
10(Highest) ELO- 41(Current)