World Cup 2022: Morocco boss sets out to 'rewrite history' in semi-final with France

Morocco's players lift up head coach Walid Regragui in celebration after beating Portugal 1-0 in the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar
(Image credit: FIFA via Getty Images)

Morocco (opens in new tab) head coach Walid Regragui has emphatically proclaimed that his side aren't done with their incredible World Cup 2022 (opens in new tab) adventure yet, as they prepare for an historic semi-final showdown with France (opens in new tab) on Wednesday night.

In beating Portugal 1-0 in the quarter-finals, Morocco broke through that centuries-old glass ceiling to become the first-ever African nation to reach the World Cup semis.

The Atlas Lions had already knocked out Spain on penalties to reach that point, having impressively won a group featuring 2018 runners-up Croatia (opens in new tab) and third-placed finishers Belgium (they drew 0-0 with the former and defeated the latter 2-0).

Les Bleus – who are looking to become the first team to retain the trophy since Brazil 60 years ago – pose Morocco's toughest test so far, but Regragui has struck a determined tone in the build-up to the biggest game in his nation's history. He said (opens in new tab):

"The further we go in the tournament, the more difficult the games are. We are going to play the world champions, with some world-class players and a very good coach [Didier Deschamps] – perhaps the best in the world. But we are going to focus on what we do well, show great desire and try to pull off an upset. Why not reach the final of the World Cup?

"We are very ambitious and we are hungry. I don't know if that's going to be enough, but it could be because we have great spirit; we're very confident and we are determined to rewrite the history books. We want Africa to be on top of the world.

"You may say I am mad; I am crazy – but I think a bit of craziness is good."

Ambition and hunger (and maybe a bit of craziness from their gaffer – who was only appointed in August) seem to have served Morocco pretty well up to this point: they've conceded a tournament-low one goal across five matches in Qatar – and that was an own goal (in their 2-1 group stage win over Canada).

Upsetting France to go all the way to the final will take more than that, but this has been the World Cup of shocks – so who's to say Regragui and co. can't pull off an almighty one here? 

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Tom Hancock started freelancing for FourFourTwo in April 2019 and has also written for The Analyst and When Saturday Comes, among others. He supports Wycombe Wanderers and has a soft spot for Wealdstone. A self-confessed statto, he has been known to watch football with a spreadsheet (or several) open...