• WC 2018: ‘We are Going to Play Against Monsters,’ Says Renard After World Cup Final Draw

    By Morocco World News

    Rabat – Supporters of the 32 teams who qualified for the 2018 World Cup were watching the final draw around the world, hoping their team would be placed in an easy group so they can qualify for the tournament’s next level. Although the Moroccan squad was placed in Group B alongside some of the toughest teams, the Atlas Lions are determined to not raise the white flag at whatever cost.

    On Friday, FIFA announced the World Cup final draw for the 2018 tournament, which will take place in Russia next summer. The next mission does not appear to be impossible for the Moroccan squad, who was placed along with Spain, Portugal, and Iran in Group B.

    Speaking to the press after the draw, Morocco’s coach, Herve Renard, said, “We wanted to be at this World Cup, and now we are here.” Commenting on Morocco’s next opponents, the Frenchman said that the Lions will play against “two monsters,” referring to Portugal and Spain “which everyone wanted to avoid in this pot.”

    “These are two countries that are not far from Morocco. The championship of Spain is something that people cannot miss in Morocco,” said Renard. “It is an honor for Morocco to play against the Spanish team that is very strong, and Portugal, European champion.”

    Morocco will face Iran first on June 15 in Saint Petersburg.

    “It will be our first opponent during our opening match. It is already an honor to be here. Now we must not be satisfied with our participation, we must go with our determination and believe in our chances, even if it seems very difficult for everyone,” said the coach.

    Renard added that his team is going to play its matches in St. Petersburg and Moscow. “It is nice anyway. But we are not here to do tourism.”

    All coaches present in the final draw have given their points of view regarding the groups they were placed in.

    Julen Lopetegui, a former Spanish footballer and current manager of Spanish national football team, said that Spain will face “one of the most toughest teams, including the Moroccan squad, who excluded the Ivorian team in the World Cup qualifiers.”

    For Carlos Queiroz, the head manager of Iranian football team, told beIN Sports that Morocco has a “great” team, recalling his course during the qualifiers.

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  • WC 2018: Reaction to the World Cup draw

    Group B

    Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran

    Portugal coach Fernando Santos: “It’s a very deceptive and treacherous group. Portugal have to accept that we are one of the favorites but if you look in a bit more detail, you can see it’s very difficult. Spain are naturally favorites, as I’ve always said.”

    Spain coach Julen Lopetegui: ”Portugal are a great team, the current European champions and with a host of top-level footballers. The majority of Morocco’s players are playing in Europe and they knocked the Ivory Coast out and haven’t lost any games.

    “Iran didn’t concede a single goal in qualifying and have a coach who has been there a long time.”

    Iran coach Carlos Queiroz: “Personally, I‘m happy because Spain and Portugal are two very special teams for me. For Iran, it’s going to be really tough... the most important thing is to play with ambition and leave the World Cup honorably.”

    Morocco coach Herve Renard: “Our first match against Iran will be decisive....It looks difficult on paper but nothing is impossible in football. We have to believe in ourselves and continue with the same dynamic... it’s going to be marvelous.”

    Reuters

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  • Group B: Portugal, Spain, Morocco, IR Iran

    FIFA.com highlights some of the 'throwback' matches we can expect to see at the world finals in Russia next summer.

    Group B: Portugal, Spain, Morocco, IR Iran

    A 21-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo scored a late penalty to secure a 2-0 victory in Frankfurt for Portugal over Iran in Group D at Germany 2006. The Best FIFA Men’s Player 2017 will be looking to repeat that feat when Portugal face Iran and fellow countryman Carlos Queiroz in Saransk on 25 June 2018.

    Also in this group, one of Morocco’s most famous World Cup wins came against Portugal at Mexico 1986 when they won 3-1 and eventually finished top of a tight Group F. Portugal finished bottom of the group during that edition. The most recently-played World Cup fixture in this group is Portugal-Spain, as the two teams came up against each other in the Round of 16 at South Africa 2010. Spain booked a quarter-final date with Paraguay by beating a Portugal side, led by none other than the aforementioned Queiroz, thanks to a 63rd-minute David Villa goal.

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  • WC 2018: BENATIA LOOKING FORWARD TO FIFA WORLD CUP GAMES

    (Goal.com) The 30-year-old is set for his first appearance in the quadrennial showpiece next year after Friday’s draw in Moscow

    Morocco skipper Medhi Benatia is looking forward to playing Portugal, Spain and Iran in the preliminary round of the 2018 Fifa World Cup.

    The Atlas Lions were paired with the reigning European champions, the 2010 World Cup champions and their Asian counterparts at the State Kremlin Palace on Friday.

    The north Africans defeated Cote d’Ivoire 2-0 on November 11 to finish at the summit of Group C, with 12 points from six games.

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  • HERVE RENARD MUST WORK ON MOROCCO'S ATTACK BEFORE WC, SAYS APPIAH

    (Goal.com) The Black Stars coach has given a piece of advice to his former colleague ahead of the 2018 Fifa World Cup

    Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah has advised Herve Renard to work on Morocco's attack ahead of the 2018 Fifa World Cup finals holding in Russia.

    The Atlas Lions have been handed, arguably, the most difficult group among the five countries representing the continent, as they share Group B with former World Cup champions Spain, reigning European champions Portugal and Iran.

    Many football pundits believe it would be a straight-forward fight between the two European countries, with Morocco expected to battle Iran for the third-place but Appiah, who worked with Renard as Ghana's assistant coach during Claude Le Roy's reign in 2008, has a different idea.

    "He has gotten a very good defence [in the Morocco team]. He should work on his attacking machinery and they could give Spain and Portugal problems," Appiah told Kwese Free Sports.

    "I think he should play compact football [at the World Cup] and demand that his players do what he asks of them. That may give him a chance to qualify from the group," he added.

    Egypt are in Group A with hosts Russia, Saudi Arabia and Uruguay, while Nigeria find themselves in Group D with Argentina, Iceland and Croatia.

    Group G has Tunisia, England, Panama and Belgium, and in Group H, Senegal will battle Poland, Columbia and Japan.

    Appiah's Black Stars failed to qualify to the tournament after finishing third in Group E of the African qualifiers behind Egypt and Uganda.

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  • World Cup 2018: Reaction of Amrabat and el Ahamdi

    ‘A nice draw for us,’ was Sofyan Amrabat’s initial reaction. His Morocco have been set a bit of a challenge. ‘It’s going to be tough, because we have to meet very strong opponents. We have a lot of respect for big countries like Spain and Portugal, but we are a good team too and we have a lot of confidence as well. You always have a chance at a World Cup; form is very

    Feyenoord’s second Morocco international Karim El Ahmadi added: ‘A very tough, but above all a nice draw for us. When it became clear that Nicolai Jørgensen and Renato Tapia were in the same group with Denmark and Peru, we hoped that Morocco would join them.

    That would have been something, so many Feyenoorders playing against each other at a World Cup. We are now going to take on Portugal and Spain, two big European countries. Which match I am most looking forward to? I think the one against Spain. It will be a nice match come what may. The tournament is something to look forward to, but a long way away too. First I’ll be focusing fully on the season with Feyenoord.’

    https://www.feyenoord.com/news/news-overview/Feyenoorders-react-to-World-Cup-draw

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  • Ziyech on World Cup draw: “I live for these games”

    (Football-Oranje.com) Ajax and Morocco star Hakim Ziyech has given his reaction to the draw for the World Cup group stages which took place on Friday.

    Ziyech helped Morocco qualify for their first World Cup in twenty years, where they will face Spain, Portugal and Iran in a tough looking group.

    Quoted by AD, Ziyech said on the group, “It is a tough group, but everything is possible, is not it?

    “I think it’s wonderful to be able to play against such strong countries as Spain and Portugal. You live for that. It is beautiful to be part of the Moroccan football history anyway.

    We have achieved the World Cup again after twenty years. You feel how proud the people are. Hopefully we can make it even better in Russia in the future. ”

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  • Del Bosque: I would like Munir to play for Morocco

    (Marca.com) Former-Spain coach Vicente del Bosque would like to see Munir El Haddadi have the chance to play for Morocco at the World Cup despite having played for La Roja.

    It was Del Bosque who gave Munir his debut with the Spain team but his career has not taken off as expected and unless there is a dramatic turnaround it is unlikely that he will play for them again any time soon.

    "We did what we had to do with Munir," said Del Bosque."But I think we have to be flexible in life and for 15 minutes they should let him play."I feel guilty, we called him up. He was in the sub-21 and one of our players got injured. I would like for him to go with Morocco."

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  • World Cup 2018 Draw: Tough draw for Morocco! draw Spain, Portugal and Iran

    FINAL DRAW

    Group A:

    1-Russia

    2-Saudi Arabia

    3-Egypt

    4-Uruguay

    Group B:

    1-Portugal

    2-Spain

    3-Morocco

    4-Iran

    Group C:

    1-France

    2-Australia

    3-Peru

    4-Denmark

    Group D:

    1-Argentina

    2-Iceland

    3-Croatia

    4-Nigeria

    Group E:

    1-Brazil

    2-Switzerland

    3-Costa Rica

    4-Serbia

    Group F:

    1-Germany

    2-Mexico

    3-Sweden

    4-South Korea

    Group G:

    1-Belgium

    2-Panama

    3-Tunisia

    4-England

    Group H:

    1-Poland

    2-Senegal

    3-Colombia

    4-Japan

    Date: Friday, December 1, 2017

    Event: World Cup 2018 Draw

    Location: Moscow, Russia

    Time: 15h00 GMT, 16h00 CET, 10:00 a.m. (USA), 3:00 p.m. (UK)

    Live Streaming Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-z0cIJLUNM (BeIN Sports)

    Television: Fox Sports 1 (USA), Fox Deportes, Telemundo, NBC Universo (USA-Spanish), Sky Sports Main Event / BBC 2 / Eurosport (UK), TSN 1/3/4/5 (Canada), Optus Sport / SBS (Australia), NPO 2 (Netherlands), BeIN Sports (MENA) other listings on livesoccertv.com

    How will it work?

    The 32 teams will be split into eight four-team groups. Each team is in one of four pots, with their position in the FIFA world rankings for October determining which pot they occupy. The exception to that is hosts Russia, who are in Pot One. England are in Pot Two. There can be a maximum of two European sides per group, but no other confederation can have more than one team in a group, so no South American sides will go head to head in the group phase for example.

    What’s the line-up of the pots?

    Pot 1: Russia (hosts), Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Poland, France

    Pot 2: Spain, Peru, Switzerland, England, Colombia, Uruguay, Mexico, Croatia

    Pot 3: Denmark, Iceland, Costa Rica, Sweden, Tunisia, Egypt, Senegal, Iran

    Pot 4: Serbia, Nigeria, Australia, Japan, Morocco, Panama, South Korea, Saudi Arabia

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  • WC 2018: CAF offers $500, 000 to each African rep for World Cup

    (CAFonline.com) At its last meeting held on 16 November 2017 in Rabat, Morocco, the CAF Executive Committee decided to set up an ad hoc committee chaired by the CAF 1st Vice President, Kwesi Nyantakyi, to map out a kind of support to be provided to African representatives to the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018.

    The committee, which has CAF Executive Committee member Kalusha Bwalya and presidents of the Football Associations of the five qualified countries as members, met in Moscow, Russia, on the sidelines of the draw for the FIFA World Cup scheduled for 1 December 2017.

    At the meeting, it was decided that CAF will grant a financial subsidy of $500,000 (Five Hundred Thousand dollars) to each of the five African teams. The financial package will be used mainly to strengthen and improve the technical supervision of each team.

    In addition, CAF will provide each African representative with “fieldwiz” equipment, a technological device and physical performance measuring tool for outdoor team sports players.

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