Introducing Morocco, which will play in the World Cup in Group "F".
A small country located in the north-west of Africa and washed by the waters of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean traces its history back to the days of Carthage. Morocco has managed to be part of the state of the Vandals, the Byzantine Empire, to be under the authority of the Arabs, the Portuguese, the Spanish, the French, and became an independent state in 1956.
Much of Morocco's economy is aimed at tourism; agriculture, fertilizers, textiles, chemicals and electrical components are well developed.
Sports in Morocco is flourishing: local athletes have won 20 medals at the summer Olympics, four more have added by local boxers. Soccer in the country has not achieved such results, but enjoys great affection.
The Moroccan national soccer team
It was formed shortly after independence and in 1957 played its first match against Iraq (3:3). In 1970, the Moroccans for the first time made it to the finals of the World Cup, but group losses to Germany - 1:2 and Peru - 0:3 denied them a chance to go further, but they still got one, having played a draw with Bulgaria - 1:1.
Seventies were a successful period for the Moroccan team: in 1976 it first and only once won the African Cup of Nations, and in 1980 became the bronze medalist. The eighties are also marked by the highest achievement at the World Championships: in 1986 in Mexico, the Moroccans made it to the playoffs, and even from first place in the group. They started with zero draws with Poland and England, and then defeated Portugal - 3-1. In the 1/8 finals, the Moroccan national team came up against the future vice-champion Germany and capitulated only in the 88th minute after a goal by Lothar Matthäus.
Since then, the "Atlas Lions" have played three more times - in 1994, 1998 and 2018 - in the group stage of the World Cup, but they have failed to repeat their success. At the 2018 World Cup in Russia, they lost to Iran 0-1 because of an auto-goal in the 95th minute, then they lost to Portugal with the same score because of a Cristiano Ronaldo goal, and then twice led in the fight with Spain, but played a draw - 2:2.
Morocco's national team stars
Moroccan players are well known in Europe. Among the players who will play at the World Cup are defender Ashraf Hakimi of PSG, another defender Noussair Mazraoui of Bayern, midfielders Sofiane Amrabat (Fiorentina) and Amin Arite (Marseille), strikers Hakim Ziyesh (Chelsea) and Youssef En-Neciri (Sevilla).
Opponents in Group F
Croatia, Belgium, Canada.
Morocco's performance forecast
The Moroccans can cling to second place in the group - they are competitive against both Croatia and even Belgium: the draw against the Spaniards four years ago was not an accident. The Moroccan team is tenacious, tough, good at defense, and thanks to Zies and En-Nesiri a fairly strong midfielders you can count on goals. If you remove Luka Modric from the Croatian squad, they are no stronger than the Moroccans.