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The Atlas Lions: A beacon of hope for African and Arab football

Photo by Ben Kerckx on Pixabay edited by Oreva el-brukevwe on Canva for thecircular .org

The Moroccan national football team has been a force to be reckoned with in the African football scene for many years. In the past two years, the team has maintained its high level of performance, achieved some notable successes, and had a solid performance in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, reaching the tournament’s semi-final stage for the first time since 1986.

Morocco kicked off their campaign with a draw against Croatia, The Atlas Lions continued their impressive form in the second group match, defeating the highly ranked Belgium side 2-0 with goals coming from R. Saiss and Aboukhalal. Seeing off Canada in their final group game. The result ensured Morocco’s progression to the knockout stages of the World Cup, where they faced Spain and progressed through penalties to the quarterfinals.

1-0 victory over Portugal

Being drawn against Portugal the odds were against them coming up against one of the greatest footballers of all time Cristiano Ronaldo who was hoping to end his illustrious career with a world cup trophy, despite this En-Nesyri of Morocco in the 42nd minute silenced the Portuguese side and progressing to the semi-finals for the first time, making history as the first African team to reach the semi-finals of the FIFA World cup tournament.  

semifinal against France

Despite putting in a valiant effort, Morocco was unable to overcome the World Champion France in the semi-finals a robust French side, who secured a 2-0 victory. The Atlas Lions had their chances, but they were unable to convert them into goals, thus qualifying for the 3rd place match with Croatia once again where they fell 2-1 and came fourth in the tournament.

Overall, Morocco’s performance in the 2022 FIFA World Cup was commendable, especially given the tough group they were drawn into. The team showed great spirit and resilience, and the Atlas Lions also displayed some flair and attacking prowess, with the likes of Ziyech, Achraf Hakimi and En-Nesyri showcasing their skill and creativity.

Despite these shortcomings, Morocco’s performance in the 2022 FIFA World Cup was a step in the right direction for the North African side. The team showed that they can compete with the best in the world and that they have the potential to achieve even greater things in the future. With a young and talented squad and a coach in Wahlid Regragui, who did the unimaginable to lead the Moroccan team to success, Morocco could be a team to watch out for in future international tournaments as they recently defeated football powerhouse Brazil in a just-concluded international friendly 1-0, and now African countries and the Arab world now turn to emulate the structure which the Moroccans adopted in building their national football team.

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