• Renard: Morocco Determined to Avoid 1st Round Elimination in World Cup 2018

    (Morocco World News) Rabat – The coach of the Moroccan national football team, Hervé Renard has reaffirmed his determination to achieve an “honorable course” with his Atlas Lions during the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

    In an interview with international sports outlet Goal, Renard said that it will be very disappointing if his team leaves the World Cup green field in the first phase of the tournament.

    “To go further in this competition, we will go to make the best possible tournament, not to participate only.” According to Renard, Morocco’s disqualification in the first round “would be a huge disappointment for Morocco.

    Renard also discussed strengths of the teams that Morocco will confront during the first round: Spain, Portugal, and Iran.

    “For Spain, it has a talented workforce.,” ‘ said Renard, adding that “We should be on our guard.”

    “It is one of the World Cup favorites.”

    Commenting on Portugal, Renard suggested that he will not “minimize the impact” of Cristiano Ronaldo, but rather “evaluate and analyze and give it all the importance it deserves.”

    For the list of 23 players that will be in Russia, Renard said: “90 percent of the list is already established.”

    There is still 10 percent that can vary depending on injuries and last minute unavailability.

    The coach also commented on the case of Moroccan-Spanish footballer Munir El Haddadi, who expressed his desire to play with the Moroccan team in Russia.

    “You have followed the case. Everything was said.”

    There is a small chance this will happen in the World Cup, he added.

    For several months, El Haddadi and Morocco’s Royal Football Federation have attempted to convince FIFA to give El Haddadi the chance to represent Morocco in the World Cup.

    El Haddadi represented Spain at the youth level and made a brief appearance as a substitute in an international game against Macedonia with the Spanish national team in 2014, which ruined his eligibility for the Moroccan national football team, according to the FIFA eligibility committee.

    El Haddadi currently plays for the Spanish club Alaves, where he is on loan from Barcelona during the 2017-2018 season.

    The tournament will begin on June 14. The Moroccan team will first play against Iran on June 15, while the second game will be against Portugal on June 20. Morocco will then play its last game for the first round of the tournament against Spain on June 25.

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