The Champions of Our Hearts

Morocco at the World Cup 2022

Morocco at World Cup 2022.

Morocco has been the only team not from Europe or South America at the 2022 World Cup since the quarterfinals, continued to surprise in Qatar. The Atlas Lions became the first African team to reach the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup - an achievement that will forever remain history! Despite the 4th place, it is safe to say that they are the champions of our hearts. And they managed to win the love of millions at this World Cup!

On the eve of the 2022 World Cup, my article about the legendary Just Fontaine, born in Morocco and scored a record 13 goals in a single World Cup (1958), was published in several countries. I mentioned in that article that the Frenchman Fontaine was not lucky enough to participate in the World Cup as a head coach, and that he could not lead Morocco to the 1982 World Cup.

Walid Regragi has successfully done what Fontaine failed to do.

Morocco was African champion only 46 years ago and have reached the knockout stage of FIFA World Cups only once before. I remember well that in France 1998, I was very disappointed when Brazil lost to Norway 1:2 and kept Morocco in the group stage.

World Cup 2022.

Therefore expectations from Morocco were not high at the 2022 World Cup. Of course, we know goalkeeper Bono from Sevilla, defender Achraf Hakim from Paris Saint-Germain and striker Hakim Ziyech from Chelsea. But the successful performance of Morocco as a team was unexpected.

By the way, in my predictions before the games in the group stage, I said that Morocco would draw 1:1 with Croatia and Canada, and lose 0:2 to Belgium. Only my prediction of a draw against Croatia did come true, and with Belgium the score became 2:0, but Morocco won.

The Atlas Lions played bravely and were not afraid of their opponents. True, Morocco's scoring was not high - only 6 goals in 7 matches. But how Moroccan players scored beautiful goals at the 2022 World Cup. Of course, the best and most important of them was the goal of Youssef En-Nesyri by head at a record height of 2.78 m from the ground against Portugal.

But on the other hand, Morocco is the leader in clean sheets with 4 games at the 2022 World Cup. By the way, goalkeeper Bono with 0 goals conceded in penalty shoot-outs against Spain, repeated the record of the Ukrainian Oleksandr Shovkovskiy who achieved such success against Switzerland in 2006 World Cup.

Moroccan fans also add a special color to the 2022 World Cup. How wonderful that players celebrate their win with their family. Especially pictures of Ashraf Hakimi with his mother are a decoration of the internet.

By the way, during the 2022 World Cup, inspired by the success of the Moroccan team, I compiled a list of 10 famous players of Moroccan origin who played for the national teams of other countries. What would be the results of the Atlas Lions if the famous players from this list played for them?

10 well-known players of Moroccan origin who played for the other countries national teams:

- Marouane Fellaini (Belgium) - 87 matches, 18 goals (2007-2018)

- Nacer Chadli (Belgium) - 66 matches, 8 goals (2011-)

- Tarik Elyounoussi (Norway) - 60 matches, 10 goals (2008-)

- Ibrahim Afellay (Netherlands) - 53 matches, 7 goals (2007-2016)

- Mohamed Elyounoussi (Norway) - 49 matches, 9 goals (2014-)

- Adil Rami (France) - 36 matches, 1 goal (2010-2018)

- Khalid Boulahrouz (Netherlands) - 35 matches (2004-2012)

- Karim Bellarabi (Germany) - 11 matches, 1 goal (2014-2016)

- Matteo Guendouzi (France) - 7 matches, 1 goal (2021-)

- Younes Kaboul (France) - 5 matches, 1 goal (2011) + Brahim Díaz (Spain) - 1 match, 1 goal (2021-)

Rasim Movsumzadeh Ballon d'Or Award juror

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