This will be Morocco’s first World Cup tournament in 20 years when the team made an impact at France 98 and the Atlas Lions will be hoping to make the same statement in Russia in a few weeks’ time.
Much of Morocco’s new found confidence rests at the hands of coach Herve Renard, the Frenchman has installed a belief within his team and in the qualifying stages it was all about the defence where they conceded just 1 goal.
This side have genuine quality players such as Real Madrid’s Achraf Hakimi and Juventus’ Mehdi Benatia.
But, all eyes though will be on Hakim Ziyech whose goals meant that Morocco finished top of their group in the qualifiers.
Ayoub El Kaabi will be another player to watch, the 24 year old has scored 47 league goals for his side RS Berkane in the last two seasons and 11 goals for the national side so far this year.
Morocco’s first World Cup appearance came in 1970 but ended quickly when they were inevitably dumped out at the group stages. They had to wait until 1986 for their next chance where they managed to qualify from the groups and reach the last 16. This remains their best effort at a World Cup. They went on to qualify for both the 1994 and 1998 tournaments and this will be their first tournament since then.
All credit has to be given to coach Renard who has drummed into his side the importance of sapping up pressure, defending deep and hitting on the counter. The team have good quality players especially in the attacking sense. Their biggest problem in Russia though is that they have been paired in their group with Spain and Portugal. Russia 2018 therefore looks like it will last just 3 games for this nation.