Allez Le Maroc—World Cup 22

Allez Le Maroc—World Cup 22

Allez Le Maroc—World Cup 22

Most of the Goliaths made it through. But not all!

In spite of early group round shock defeats of Spain (by Saudi Arabia), and of Germany (by Japan), most of FIFA’s top-10 teams made it through to the KO round—except for Denmark, Italy (didn’t qualify for the tournament)…and Belgium. Belgium’s “golden generation” were ranked #2 but were beaten by Morocco, as the mighty Atlas Lions finished first in Group F, even topping 2018 WC finalists Croatia.

That’s right, the #22 ranked Atlas Lions, whose stalwart defence was led by Man of the Match and PSG’s Achraf Hakimi, got goals from Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech and Sevilla striker Youssef En-Nesyri (the first Moroccan player to score in two World Cups) to clinch first place. As a result, Morocco became the first team from the African continent to take first place in a World Cup group since Nigeria in 1998.

And, Morocco isn’t finished with their manager Walid Regragui saying, “Before the tournament, we said we wanted to give everything we’ve got to get out of the group stages. Now, we can tick that box. So why not aim for the sky? We needed to change and we needed to change our mentality. We’re not going to stop here. We’ve got a lot of respect for all of the different opponents, but we are going to be a very difficult team to beat.” 

Spain awaits Morocco in the next round, wow, where Hakimi will play against the country of his birth—talk about fairy tales.

After Morocco won, their prized defender Achraf Hakimi, who plays alongside Leo Messi et al at PSG, ran towards the sidelines to meet his mother, who was wearing the Moroccan flag. She kissed his cheeks, and he bent to kiss her forehead. He then gave her his jersey and that heartwarming scene went viral. There is a poignant story there as. Saida Mou, Ashraf’s mother, used to clean houses in Spain to give a decent life for her son.


And, it all started in the hardscrabble streets of Madrid where Ashraf was actually born: “We come from a modest family that struggled to earn a living. My mother cleaned houses and my father was a street vendor. Today I fight every day for them. They sacrificed themselves for me. They deprived my brothers of many things for me to succeed.”

Then later on Thursday, the shocks continued when Japan defeated Spain 2-1 to top their Group E, ahead of Spain, and also knock out giants Germany—Germany actually goes out of the group stage for the second straight World Cup.


PS Our much respected publisher and Casablanca, Morocco-born Badr Berrada enthuses that “This World Cup has been unbelievable,” adding, “I am very proud of Morocco. Walid Regragui has united the team. He recently won the Moroccan league title and African champions league with Wydad. Importantly, he is still undefeated with the Moroccan national team. Regragui was able to rebuild the confidence of Ziyech and enable Hakimi to lead attacks from defense. Hakimi is an unbelievable player. He played the last two games injured. He is a world class player. He is a Madridista and will (possibly) come back to (Madrid) to replace Dani Carvajal. He also brought back Hamdallah—a popular player in the Middle East who plays in the Saudi Arabian football league—and was able to convince some exciting youngsters from Europe to play for their home country. He is also very honest in press conferences.”

Allez, allez, allez!


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  • Matt Cahoon

    This moroccan team is underrated !!!!

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Matt Cahoon

    Yes, indeed, Matt. How do you think Hakimi (who was born in Spain) and team will do against Spain? ;)

  • Matt Cahoon

    In reply to: ashley collie

    It's going to be a tough game for Spain and Morocco.

  • Sam Henderson

    Best of luck against Spain, it's truly a fairytale in this World Cup

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Sam Henderson

    Sam, how long will this fairy tale continue? ;)

  • Luck Worley

    As a Chelsea fan I am gutted that Ziyech can't perform like this with our team.... It didn't work out for both parties because he doesn't feel enough love from managers... It's time to sell him.. He is a wizard and deserves to play as a starter....

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Luck Worley

    Is he that good, he always seems to play well for his international team. ;)

  • Luck Worley

    In reply to: ashley collie

    Ziyech was world class with Ajax...

  • Chris B

    Hakimi is the best right back in the world ! United gotta buy him !

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Chris B

    Which United, Newcastle or ManU? Haha! Thanks for commenting.

  • Chris B

    In reply to: ashley collie

    Man United

  • Rob Howard

    Well done Morocco

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Rob Howard

    Badr the publisher is so proud of his country. ;)

  • Ali Bennani

    I am so proud of my team and country. Let's go Morocco, we can do it. Thanks for the support.

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Ali Bennani

    Congrats, Ali. Badr is from Casablanca, and you? ;)

  • Ali Bennani

    In reply to: ashley collie

    I am from Fes.

  • Peter Ayofemi

    As a Nigerian, I want to say well done to Morocco

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Peter Ayofemi

    African countries have been doing their nations proud, mate. ;)

  • Scott Andrews

    All the best Morocco

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Scott Andrews

    Hey, Scott, what do you think of England's (or US) chances?

  • Hassan Ubaid

    You’ve made North Africa & Africa proud.

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Hassan Ubaid

    Well said, Hassan. Come on you, Atlas Lions. ;)

  • Kiely Shaw

    Feel that anyone can advance in this world cup. It's finally competitive. First time an African team has finished top of the group this century. Thrilled we get to see more of it.

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Kiely Shaw

    But what are the chances that a new team will win it, or one that hasn't won it for a long time? ;)

  • Nigel Moore

    Wonderful world cup

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Nigel Moore

    Yes, indeed, Nigel, at least on the pitches. ;)

  • Tina Reed

    This has to be one of the wildest World Cup in recent memory.

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Tina Reed

    Wild and wooly, and it helps when the giants go out and the Davids have their shot, eh?

  • Tina Reed

    In reply to: ashley collie

    I want Argentina to win this World Cup, my husband is a huge Messi fan.

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Ashley Jude Collie

Entertainment Expert

Ashley is an award-winning journalist/author/blogger who has written for Playboy, Toronto Star, Movie Entertainment, Sports Illustrated, Maclean's and others. He's interviewed various "leaders" in their fields, including: Oscar winners (Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Lawrence, Alicia Vikander, Jane Fonda, Mira Sorvino, Geena Davis, Anthony Hopkins); Grammy winners (Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Ice Cube, Pete Townshend); MVPs in sports (Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Wayne Gretzky, Kobe Bryant); and, business leaders (Amazon's Jeff Bezos). He has an upcoming novel, REJEX, coming out on Pulp Hero Press. And he has written several episodic TV shows, appeared on CNN, and blogged for Mademan, Medium, GritDaily and HuffPost.


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