Morocco’s magical run at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar

By Halal Trip | 20, Dec, 2022
Morocco’s magical run at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar

The Atlas Lion’s run at the FIFA World Cup 2022 was historic for Morocco, for Africa, for Arabs, and for Muslims globally.

Not only did Morocco win their first-ever knockout game at a World Cup, but they also became the first African country to qualify for the semi-finals at the World Cup which sent shockwaves across the globe.

"Before it was just the Moroccans who supported us, now it is the Africans and the Arabs,” manager Walid Regragui said before the quarterfinal, referencing the electric atmosphere that has accompanied his team at every game.

Morocco began their campaign in Qatar with a nervy 0-0 draw against the runners-up of the 2019 World Cup, Croatia, earning them a point.

Their second game made a statement across the tournament as they defeated the 2nd ranked FIFA team, Belgium. Goals from Roman Saiss and Zakaria Aboukhlal sealed the victory.

Morocco then ended the group stage on top, registering another record for being the first African and Arab team to top the group stage by defeating Canada 2-1. Early goals from Hakim Ziyech and Youssef En-Nesyri ensured Morocco’s claim at the top of the group.

As the knockout stage began, the Moroccan team rose like a phoenix, causing ripples across the world by defeating Spain on penalties (3-0) and Portugal (1-0) in the quarterfinals.

In the semi-finals, Morocco kept most of the possession forcing the World Champions, France to eventually "park the bus" and defend. Although an early and late strike ended Morocco’s fairy tale campaign as they lost 2-0.


Road to the FIFA World Cup 2022
Morocco Squad at the Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022

Image Credit: @equipedumaroc on Instagram

The road to the World Cup begins with a qualification phase. A national association football team plays in a competitive match known as the FIFA World Cup qualifying in order to earn a spot in the final tournament of the (men's) FIFA World Cup.

Morocco made it to the FIFA World Cup finals on six separate occasions, in 1970, 1986, 1994, 1998, 2018, and 2022.

Their historic run to the World Cup 2022 began with their entry into the African qualifications in the second round. They bolstered their way through the qualification process, winning all 6 matches and scoring 20 goals while at it.

After topping their group at the qualifications, the Atlas Lions advanced to the third round to face DR Congo in a home-and-away play-off. They drew the away fixture 1-1 but came back stronger at home with a 4-1 victory to consolidate their spot at Qatar 2022.


Group Qualifying

September 2, 2021
Morocco 2 (Aguerd 10', Abdalla og 53') Sudan 0

October 6, 2021
Morocco 5 (Hakiki 31', Louza pen 45+1, Chair 49', El Kaabi 62', El Haddadi 82') Guinea-Bissau 0

October 9, 2021
Guinea-Bissau 0 Morocco 3 (El Kaabi 10', 69', Barkok 20')

October 12, 2021
Guinea 1 (Kane 31') Morocco 4 (El Kaabi 21', Amallah 42', 65', Boufal 89')

November 12, 2021
Sudan 0 Morocco 3 (Mmaee 3', 61', Louza 90+3')

November 16, 2021
Morocco 3 (Mmaee pen 20', 29', El Kaabi 60') Guinea 0



First leg:
March 25, 2022
DR Congo 1 (Wissa 12') Morocco 1 (Tissoudali 76')

Second leg:
March 29, 2022
Morocco 4 (Ounahi 21', 54', Tissoudali 45+7', Hakimi 69') DR Congo 1 (Malango 77').

Morocco win 5-2 on aggregate

However, Moroccan coach Vahid Halilhodzi was dismissed in August and was replaced by French-born Moroccan Walid Regragui.

Morocco was then drawn into Group F, alongside Belgium, Croatia, and Canada.


Morocco and World Cup History
Walid Regragui celebrating with the Moroccan team FIFA World Cup 2022

Image Credit: @equipedumaroc on Instagram

The Morocco team boasts a lot of accomplishments and records from its World Cup appearances. Here is a look at some:

  • 1970: With a 1-1 draw against Bulgaria, Morocco became the first African country to draw a game at the World Cup Finals.
  • 1986: First African and Arab team to reach the round of 16.
  • 1986: First African and Arab team to top the group stage.

Morocco Topping the table in 1986 FIFA World Cup

Image Credit: Google

  • 1998: Youssef Chippo of Morocco. first African to score an own goal at the World Cup, in the 2–2 draw against Norway on 10 June 1998.
  • 2018: The first player to replace his brother in a World Cup game was Sofyan Amrabat of Morocco, who replaced his brother Nordin Amrabat in the 76th minute of the group match against Iran.
  • 2022: First Arab nation to advance to the quarter-finals by defeating Spain.
  • 2022: Walid Regragui of Morocco, the first African and Arab manager to reach the quarter-finals.
  • 2022: Morocco becomes the first African and first Arab nation to reach the semifinals after their 1–0 victory over Portugal.
  • 2022: Walid Regragui of Morocco, first African coach to reach semi-finals.

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