• 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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  • WC 2018: Africa's World Cup Dream Team

    By Keegan Kruger -

    With the groups for the 2018 FIFA World Cup being drawn today, here is an African dream team made up of players who could be boarding the plane to Russia with their national teams next year.

    Tired of reading? Click through the gallery above to see ESPN's African World Cup Dream XI.

    Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia will be representing the continent at the global showpiece, and ESPN has selected a starting XI they think would do Africa proud if they were to play together at the tournament.

    Morocco goalkeeper Munir Mohand Mohamedi was picked to stand between the sticks, and the reason for this is that he conceded zero goals throughout the qualifying campaign. The 28-year-old, who struggled for consistency earlier in his career, plays his football in La Liga for Numancia.

    In defence are Tunisia international Ali Maaloul, Morocco star Medhi Benatia, Senegal and Napoli centre back Kalidou Koulibaly, and Chelsea wing-back Victor Moses.

    The publication decided to go with a four-man midfield, opting for Morocco's deep-lying playmaker Mbark Boussoufa, with Senegal’s Idrissa Gueye partners him in the middle of the park. Morocco winger Hakim Ziyech and Senegal star Balde Keita find themselves on the flanks.

    Leading the line for this dream team are Senegal striker Sadio Mane and Egypt international Mohamed Salah.

    https://www.soccerladuma.co.za/news/articles/international/categories/african-football/africa-s-fifa-world-cup-dream-team/284766

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  • EPL: Southampton fans react to Sofiane Boufal's cameo vs Manchester City

    Sofiane Boufal came off the bench for Southampton at The Etihad and changed the game in the blinking of an eye.

    Oriol Romeu of Southampton celebrates after scoring his sides first goal with Sofiane Boufal of Southampton and Cedric Soares of Southampton during the Premier League match between...

    Sofiane Boufal has quite a long way to go before he can claim to be in the same league at a certain Matthew Le Tissier.

    One is a bonafide Southampton legend who spent his entire career with The Saints, rejecting tempting offers from elsewhere, sacrificing a chance in the England team and scoring a fair few timeless wondergoals along the way.

    Boufal, however, remains an enigma. An immensely talented footballer who is just as likely to frustrate as he is to thrill, the Moroccan winger continues to divide supporters both inside and outside St Marys.

    Sofiane Boufal of Southampton clears the ball during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Southampton at Etihad Stadium on November 29, 2017 in Manchester, England.

    But almost a year-and-a-half after Southampton invested a club record £21 million to sign him from Lille (Sky Sports), Boufal is just starting to show some of that frightening potential that had observers in France referring to him as the second coming of Eden Hazard.

    A matter of weeks after his slaloming wondergoal earned Mauricio Pellegrino’s side a narrow 1-0 win at West Brom, Boufal came off the bench to fine effect once again as The Saints travelled to Manchester City.

    Sofiane Boufal of Southampton breaks through on his way to score his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Southampton and West Bromwich Albion at St Mary's Stadium on...

    It was his glorious assist which set up Oriol Romeu’s equaliser at The Etihad. And despite Raheem Sterling’s last gasp winner that consigned Southampton to a long trip home without a point to their name, another stellar cameo from Boufal was enough to keep the fans spirits high.

    http://www.hitc.com/en-gb/2017/11/30/do-southampton-fans-react-to-sofiane-boufals-cameo-vs-manchester/

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  • WC 2026: Morocco and USA/Canada/Mexico confirm 2026 bids

    (AFP) — Morocco and the three-nation ticket of the United States, Mexico, and Canada formally confirmed their bids to host the 2026 World Cup on Thursday's deadline.

    That World Cup will be the first to include 48 teams, rather than the 32 who will compete in Russia next year and in Qatar in 2022.

    The next stage will be the submission of complete candidacy dossiers by the candidates on March 16. The host will be chosen on June 13 next year, but the way the choice is made marks a change by FIFA, the governing body of world football.

    The decision used to be made by FIFA's executive committee, but following the suspicions that hovered over its selection of Russia and Qatar in December 2010, and the subsequent scandal that dethroned president Sepp Blatter, the committee was stripped of some power and renamed the FIFA Council.

    The new-look council must rubber-stamp the bids, but the final decision will be taken in a vote of the 211 national federations at a congress in Moscow.

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