Morocco head coach Walid Regragui says his team are not tired of setting more tongues wagging and causing more upsets at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, www.aclsports.com reports.
Regragui and his Atlas Lions troops have been the talk of the competition having reached the heights no African nation had ever reached with their semi-final qualification in Qatar.
Morocco face World Cup defending champions France in their semi-final outing at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor on Wednesday night for another opportunity to even extend their unbeaten run under Regragui.
Kudos to #Morocco coach Walid Regragui who has handled the politics of his side's progress very well.— Fisayo Dairo (@FisayoDairo) December 13, 2022
Never ceases to portray AFRICA's representation in comments and when he's asked from an Arab perspective, he handles it well. He emphasises Morocco well enough too. Top dude pic.twitter.com/5h3GGUAENk
Answering questions from journalists at the pre-match Press Conference on Tuesday, Regragui says he is not new to people expecting his side to be tired but they are ready to disappoint them even more.
“We’re not tired, we still want to go further in this competition,” began Regragui.
“People can think we’re tired but people have always thought that about us since the competition started. You cannot be tired in a World Cup semi final.”
Regragui had to face Portugal in the quarter finals without two of his impregnable back four after injuries to Nayef Aguerd and Bayern Munich star Noussair Mazraoui. The situation was then exacerbated when captain Romain Saiss was stretchered off in the second half of that game.
The French-born manager says none of the players are ruled out of the competition yet as his medical team are doing a great job in getting them back to full fitness.
“We have a very good medical team that have been exceptional in this competition. They have been working on the players and I keep receiving good news about the players on the treatment table.
“We are keeping everything open for now, no player is ruled out and no player is certain to play yet because we will have to see until the last minute before making our decisions,” said Regragui who had over 40 caps for the Atlas Lions.
On Kylian Mbappe
Regragui was an accomplished right back in his playing days and knows what it could be to face a top winger like Kylian Mbappe, one of the tournament’s best players so far.
He says Morocco will not set up a plan to nullify the superstar while affirming his belief in Mbappe’s club mate Achraf Hakimi.
“I’m not going to set up any tactical plan to tackle Kylian Mbappe. They also have other good players like Griezmann, Dembele so if we focus on Mbappe, it can be suicidal. Achraf is one of the best players in the world so I trust his abilities to handle whatever comes his way.
“What we have to do is focus on how to harm them because we are capable of that. The key for us is the team spirit. Everybody wants to work and give their best every game and the spirit for me is everything in football.
“We are confident and we are determined to rewrite the history books and we want Africa to be on top of the world,” Regragui submitted.
France vs Morocco will kick-off at 10pm local time (8pm in Nigeria) on Wednesday.
Fisayo Dairo, reporting from Doha, Qatar.