Morocco returns to Africa for World Cup glory in 2015-20

Third place play-off: Croatia 2-1 Morocco

9:30AM Return to Morocco and Africa for World Cup glory

Morocco coach Walid Regragui stated he believes the African staff will win the World Cup within the subsequent 15 to twenty years after his staff completed fourth in Qatar.

The Atlas Lions, who turned the primary African World Cup semi-finalists in historical past, captured the creativeness in Qatar regardless of a 2-1 defeat within the third-place play-off towards 2018 runners-up Croatia on Saturday.

The following World Cup, held throughout the USA, Canada and Mexico in 2026, will develop to 48 groups, with Africa presently having a minimum of 9 slots, up from 5.

“We are going to study with 9 individuals. I’m assured that in 15, 20 years, the African staff will win the World Cup as a result of we’ve got realized,” stated Regragui.

“We now have steps to beat. We should construct on it with effort and aspiration. This DNA is made for the continent, not simply Morocco.” Morocco topped their group on the 2018 World Cup, together with third-placed Croatia and Belgium, and superior to the semi-finals, beating Spain and Portugal.

Their run was completed within the semi-finals by defending champions France, however Legragui urged his gamers to again up their historic show by successful subsequent 12 months’s Africa Cup of Nations.

“I instructed the gamers within the locker room that in the event that they wished to make historical past, they needed to win the Africa Cup of Nations,” stated Regragui.

“We should rule the continent.” Morocco have solely been topped African champions as soon as, in 1976, however their performances on the World Cup have proven that they’re a staff on the rise beneath Legraghi, who was solely appointed in August.

“Tomorrow morning we’ll take inventory and we’ll all notice we have performed a incredible job right here. We now have amassed plenty of expertise in a brief period of time,” stated Regragui.

“We went additional than anticipated, however not sufficient. We should set an instance for the long run. We would like everybody in Africa to study from the expertise.

“We now have an amazing future forward of us and we’ll hold shifting ahead. “After all we’ve got a purpose of successful the World Cup. There can be extra stress on us sooner or later and hopefully extra African groups will observe our instance.

“We now have proven that we will play towards the perfect groups. Actually, the smallest particulars decide these video games.”

6:24am ‘LIKE GOLD TO US’: Croatia take bronze to Morocco

Croatia beat Morocco 2-1 in Saturday’s World Cup third and fourth place playoffs, gained by Mislav Orsic curling residence.

Josko Gvardiol, one of many stars of the match in Qatar, headed Croatia into the lead after seven minutes on the Khalifa Worldwide Stadium, however Achraf Dari introduced Morocco degree straight away.

Orsic’s gorgeous curling strike late within the first half earned Croatia the bronze medal, whereas the European staff completed in third place for the eleventh successive World Cup.

“It is a bronze medal, however it’s like a gold medal for us,” stated Croatian coach Zlatko Dalic.

Morocco coach Walid Regragui proudly stated his staff had so much to mirror on after changing into the primary African semi-finalist in World Cup historical past.

“It is a bitter loss, however I feel I deserve it,” stated Regragui. “Our staff by no means gave up. I’ll bear in mind many matches and are available again stronger. We unified our nation for a month and everybody was pleased.” Morocco, which had not made it previous the spherical of 16 till this World Cup, confirmed its will by displaying good spirits towards Croatia, the runner-up in 2018, within the opening sport held in Qatar.

The rematch was nothing just like the 0-0 draw within the group stage when Morocco goalkeeper Yassine Bounou handed the ball into his web early on and got here dangerously shut.

Croatia quickly went forward from a well-rehearsed free-kick as Ivan Perisic nodded again into the field to Gvardiol, who nodded to a clip from Lovro Majer and headed within the nook.

Nonetheless, Morocco struck again two minutes later when Hakim Ziyech’s free kick hit Majer’s head and related, permitting Dari to go in Dominik Livakovic.

Andrej Kramaric headed straight for Bounou, and Bounou scooped the ball to security as Marko Livaja closed after Luka Modric’s drive.

Orsic curled beautifully by the posts within the nook of the field to get Croatia again on monitor earlier than halftime after 18-year-old Moroccan debutant Bilal El Khannouss misplaced the ball deep within the first half.

Orsic as soon as once more reached the end line shortly after the restart and his effort on purpose brushed Jawad El Yamiq and narrowly handed the put up.

Croatia had been livid as Gbardiol fell into the penalty space after showing to have tripped Sofian Amrabat, however there was no VAR evaluation.

It might show a game-changing second if Youssef En-Nesyri discovered his well beyond Livakovic, who was brilliantly placing himself out to dam the striker from shut vary.

Mateo Kovacic widened his possibilities to make the sport unquestionable. Morocco had their late penalty attraction turned down and En-Nesyri simply handed, however Atlas Lions could not discover their method again after a historic run.

‘IDIOT’S POSITION’: Moroccan coach takes third place

On Saturday, Staff Morocco captured the world’s creativeness as they superior to the historic semi-finals and had an opportunity to win the bronze medal.

They may face Croatia, who unexpectedly reached the semifinals in Qatar in 2018 however had been abruptly stopped by an impressed Messi and his protégé Julian Alvarez.

Morocco’s coach Walid Regragui, the primary African or Arab staff to succeed in the World Cup semi-finals, stated the third-place play-off was “a bit annoying”.

“It is all the time very troublesome for each groups to play once more two days later after a giant disappointment like dropping within the semifinals,” Regragui stated in a press convention.

“So far as I do know, for those who’re third or fourth, you are within the sneakers of an fool.”

Nonetheless, Croatian ahead Andrej Kramaric stated his teammates can be extremely motivated as a result of successful a medal “will make you an everlasting hero” in a rustic of three.9 million individuals.

Sunday’s ultimate on the 89,000-capacity Lusail Stadium will cap off some of the controversial World Cups in historical past.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino dismissed criticism, describing the match as “the best World Cup ever”.

“The World Cup has been an unimaginable success in each method,” Infantino stated at a press convention on Friday.

“An important factor is the followers, the motion, the enjoyable ambiance, bringing individuals collectively. Followers assembly the Arab world has been crucial for the way forward for all of us.”

Infantino stated the match exceeded income forecasts for the 4 years to 2022, a file $7.5 billion and $1 billion enhance over the earlier four-year interval main as much as the 2018 World Cup.

He stated he expects income to rise to $11 billion within the years main as much as the 2026 match, when FIFA expands from 32 to 48 groups. The match is co-hosted by the USA, Canada and Mexico.

“We’re assured that the impression of the match can be monumental,” Infantino stated. “I have been by so much right here and could be unbelievable in North America as nicely.”

Initially posted as FIFA World Cup 2022: Croatia v Morocco, third place playoffs, outcomes, fixtures

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