The Lions from Morocco are one of the African teams that missed the previous four World Cup tournaments. After a long ‘’break’’ from the biggest tournament in the world, now Morocco comes back for the tournament in Russia. This will be participation number five for this nation. So far the Lions have 2 wins, 4 draws and 7 loses in 13 games at the World Cups. The qualifications for the team were really successful but the draw was disappointing since Morocco was situated in the same group with Spain, Portugal, and Iran. The presence of those two European powerhouses makes the potential continuation in the tournament almost impossible for the Moroccan lions.

HEAD COACH AND LINEUP

Regardless of the fact that the World Cup group of Morocco is really hard, there are people that believe in the success of the national team of Morocco. Probably the biggest believer in this is the head coach of Morocco – Herve Renard. Renard has a vast experience coaching teams from Africa. He perfectly understands the style and the mindset of the players from Africa. Through the ages, he had been coaching the national teams of Angola, Zambia, the Ivory Coast and the French club team Lille. Everyone in Morocco believes that he is the right person for this job and for this reason his contract is valid until 2022. It will be interesting to see if Renard and the Lions can provide some upsets through some stable defense and high percent conversation of goal scoring chances.

Morocco has two equally good goalkeepers, but we can say that one of them is clearly the favorite of the coach Renard. Munir Mohamedi from Numancia is the key player in the defensive line of Morocco and his work performance will be highly important for everyone from this African country.

As some of you might know, Morocco is a good defensive team and this cannot be any different when one of your central defenders and your captain is called Medhi Benatia. The defender of Juventus will make his debut at the biggest tournament in the football world. He is a top level player that has all the skills and the experience to stop even the best strikers in the world. Medhi is the absolute leader of Morocco and you will see that during the tournament in Russia.

The midfield line of Morocco is probably the best part of this team. There are plenty of great midfielders in the lineup of the Lions, but the key one is the attacking midfielder of Galatasaray – Younes Belhanda. Belhanda used to be one of the promising talents of the world’s football. He had won the French League 1 in 2012 with Montpellier. In addition, he had played for teams like Dynamo Kyiv, Nice and Schalke 04. His ability to create goal chances will be important and needed for Morocco.

The attacking power of Morocco is on a slightly worse level compare to the other lines of the Moroccan squad. In here the key player of the team is called Khalid Boutaib. He has plenty of experience in the French leagues and also 7 goals in 15 games for the national team of Morocco. He is not a bad player, but compared to the forwards of Spain, Portugal and even Serdar Azmoun from Iran, Khalid is fairly limited.

STRENGTHS & WEAKNESSES

The strength of Morocco is in the fact that the team has a huge variety of equally good players in almost all positions of the lineup. This provides unexpected harm to the opponents of the team. We cannot name only one player that can do the harm for the Moroccan opponents and for this reason the variety is the strength for the Africans. The weakness for the African lions is the lack of big tournament experience for the team as a whole. All of the opponents of Morocco in the group (Spain, Portugal and Iran) have team experience at the World Cups, while Morocco does not. We will see how this will goes for the Africans.

FIXTURES

DateTeam 1Team 2VenueLocal Time
15-Jun-18MOROCCOIRANSaint Petersburg Stadium18:00
20-Jun-18PORTUGALMOROCCOLuzhniki Stadium15:00 
25-Jun-18SPAINMOROCCOKaliningrad Stadium20:00 

Morocco will make its debut at the 2018 World Cup on June 15th against Iran. This game will be the most important for Morocco at this tournament. A possible win can open the doors for the Africans for a possible surprising reaching of the next round. After that, on June 20th Morocco will try to beat Cristiano Ronaldo and the Portuguese national team. The group stage for the Africans will end on June 25th in a game against the national team of Spain. All this forms an interesting schedule for Morocco that can potentially help them is the team registers good results in the first two games.