They'll always have Guadalajara

Portugal 1:0 Morocco

The FRMF, the Royal Moroccan Football Federation, has had a rough couple of weeks.


Firstly they saw their World Cup 2026 bid rejected in favour of a joint bid from Canada, Mexico and the USA - three against one is not really fair is it?

Then on their first World Cup appearance in twenty years their national team became the first to be eliminated from the tournament.

One can argue they did not deserve to lose to Egypt in their opener but as we have seen there is no infallible justice in this World Cup.

They also missed a handful of chances against a once more workmanlike yet unimpressive Portugal, who relied once more on their megastar talisman.

At this rate the 33 year-old CR7 is going to smash the record for goals scored in the finals and be awarded a platinum, not just golden boot.

Younes Belhanda's header needed a flying one-handed save from Rui Patricio so nobody can accuse them of not trying.

Losing to Portugal brought back memories of Morocco's finest hour at Mexico '86 when they beat them 3-1 in Guadalajara to win group F above England and Poland too.

The Atlas Lions then lost only 1-0 to eventual finalists West Germany but could at least say they had  become the first African team to have won a World Cup group.

Where Moroccan football goes now is a big question after this double-whammy. They have bid and failed five times to host the World Cup but in reality had no chance when up against the CAN-MEX-USA behemoth.

Their bid was judged "high-risk" by FIFA's Technical Report because 14 stadia, as well as hotel and transport infrastructure needed building, including an alluring but still hypothetical 93,000-seat Grande Stade de Casablanca.

Maybe Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco should unite for a Maghreb bid to win the World Cup hosting.

For the Atlas Lions, it is back to the pride.

(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

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