World Cup 2022 team preview: Morocco could be surprise package

The North African side could be dark horses in Qatar


Morocco go to the World Cup 2022 ranked 22nd in the world, the second-highest of any African team. This is their sixth appearance at the tournament, qualifying through the group once in 1986.

In that year they became the first, and only, African side to top their pool at the World Cup, finishing ahead of England and Poland. They’ve won the AFCON once in 1976, and have reached the final on one other occasion in 2004.

Here, Paddy football trader Sam Kingston takes you through what to expect from Morocco in Qatar.


Morocco World Cup 2022 qualifying record

Morocco topped their qualifying group containing Guinea Bissau, Guinea and Sudan with six wins from six, scoring 20 goals and conceding once in those six games.

They then eased past Congo in the playoff match, beating them 5-2 on aggregate.

Who is the Morocco manager?

Walid Regragui won 45 caps for his national side as a player. He was the assistant for a year, before becoming head coach at Moroccan side Fath Union Sport. He managed there for six years before taking over at Al-Duhail in Qatar.

Regragui took the Morocco gig in August this year, after Vahid Halilhodžić was sacked after three years in the job, mainly because of his refusal to play Hakim Ziyech, who they felt was needed for the upcoming World Cup.

Morocco World Cup squad

Morocco have a huge amount of players playing in Europe, and their squad has a few superstars in there. Let’s start with the full-backs, Noussair Mazraoui and Achraf Hakimi. Mazraoui now starts for Bayern Munich at right back, after an incredible few seasons at Ajax. He likes to get forward, and should start at right-back, with the world-class Hakimi being deployed at left back. The PSG man is widely regarded as one of the world’s best full-backs now, and with these two talents, it adds a huge boost to Morocco’s attack.

It’s likely they will play a 4-3-3 formation, with Romain Saiss, now at Besiktas, at centre half, with Sofyan Amrabat of Fiorentina holding the midfield. Ziyech is now back in the fold, so he will play on the right of the front three, with Youssef En-Nesyri of Sevilla as the striker, and Sofiane Boufal on the left.

Munir, formerly of Barcelona, has recently pledged his allegiance to Morocco, and Adel Taarabt has also been called up to recent squads. They can undoubtedly cause problems for the teams in their group.

  • Goalkeepers: Yassine Bono, Munir, Ahmed Reda Tagnaouti
  • Defenders: Achraf Hakimi, Noussair Mazraoui, Romain Saiss, Nayef Aguerd, Achraf Dari, Jawad El-Yamiq, Yahia Attiat-Allal, Badr Benoun
  • Midfielders: Sofyan Amrabat, Selim Amallah, Abdelhamid Sabiri, Azzedine Ounahi, Bilel El Khanouss, Yahya Jabrane
  • Forwards: Hakim Ziyech, Youssef En-Nesyri, Sofiane Boufal, Zakaria Aboukhlal, Ez Abde, Amine Harit, Ilias Chair, Abderrazak Hamdallah, Walid Cheddira

Morocco Key Player

Morocco are strong all over the pitch, but the key man has to be Hakim Ziyech. Ziyech was left out of the AFCON, due to reports of him feigning injury, and has been in a dispute with then manager Halilhodžić ever since.

Ziyech first became noticed when he was an integral part of the Ajax side who famously knocked out Real Madrid and Juventus in their Champions League run to the semi-final. He joined Chelsea in 2020, where he has won the Champions League and Club World Cup.

Morocco One to Watch

Youssef En-Nesyri is undoubtedly a great talent, leading the line for Sevilla over the last three seasons. He scored 18 league goals in 20/21, but injuries caused him to miss half of last season. He has scored 14 goals for Morocco in 49 appearances, and if he can get to the form of 2021, Morocco will have a stellar front three with Ziyech and Boufal either side of him.

Morocco World Cup Prospects

Morocco have been drawn in a group with World No. 2 Belgium, as well as 2018 runners-up Croatia and Canada, who have qualified for the second time in their history. It’s a very interesting and open looking group, where Morocco have a big chance to qualify. While Belgium are ranked so highly in the world, their golden generation is quickly coming to an end, with the likes of Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku going through difficult spells in their careers.

Qualification could well come down to the result against Croatia, who they play in their opening fixture. If they manage to become the third African side to qualify through the group, they will likely meet a difficult test in the last 16, against either Spain or Germany.

Morocco World Cup betting tips

As stated above, the opening game against Croatia is crucial to Morocco’s chances of qualification. They could pick up points against either of the other sides in the group in order to qualify. Morocco look as good, if not better than Croatia on paper, and there’s a feeling they may be underrated going into this tournament. If they win that opener, they’re one result away from reaching the knockout stages for the second time in their history. MOROCCO TO QUALIFY OUT OF THE GROUP makes plenty of sense.

Morocco World Cup Winner Odds

Morocco World Cup 2022 Fixtures

November 23, 10am: Morocco 0-0 Croatia (ITV)

November 27, 1pm: Belgium 0-2 Morocco (BBC)

December 1, 3pm: Canada 1-2 Morocco (BBC)

December 6, 3pm: Morocco v Spain (ITV)


*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

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