Morocco made history by becoming the first African nation to storm the Semi-finals of the Men’s FIFA World Cup after stunning star- studded Portugal by a 1-0 win on Saturday.
Coached by a Moroccan, Walid Regragui, who only was appointed in September, the Atlas Lions have defied odds to go where no African team has ever gone.
Can the North African nation go all the way to win football’s most prestigious and prized trophy?
For starters, football is no short of fairytale stories. Morocco’s run at the 2022 FWC brings to mind Zambia’s 2012 AFCON run under Hervé Renard (who was appointed three months before tournament kick-off).
The Chipolopolo Boys went-on to win their maiden AFCON trophy when most football pundits and analysts didn’t give them a chance.
Along the way, the Hervé Renard tutored side beat pre-tournament favorites including Senegal, Ghana and Ivory Coast.
In contrast, Atlast Lions have shown they can compete on football’s biggest stage by knocking-out European heavy weights Belgium, Spain and Portugal.
They are undefeated at the 2022 FWC, dropping points only once – in a Group Stage goalless draw with Croatia.
Watching Morocco play, it is evident what a defensively well organized and tactically disciplined unit the Atlas Lions are (they have only conceded one-goal at the 2022 FWC).
Their counter-attacking style of play with a touch of unpredictability makes this Moroccan side very dangerous.
With reigning world champions, France, who edged England by 2-1 in another entertaining Quarter-final match to come, the Moroccans could yet again pull another surprise or solid performance, depending on how one looks at it.
One thing is for sure, Morocco’s run sends a clear message that African teams are capable of competing at the highest level.
As FIFA is set to increase the number of World Cup slots allocated to CAF from the current (5) slots to (9) for the 2026 FWC tourney, Morocco’s brave showings will surely inspire the next generation of Africa’s World Cup representatives.