• Press review: Moroccans fined $65,000 for World Cup misconduct

    MOSCOW (AP) — FIFA has fined Morocco's soccer federation 65,000 Swiss francs ($65,650) and warned winger Noureddine Amrabat for misconduct after a late Spain goal cost the team a victory at the World Cup.

    Amrabat directed an obscene comment about FIFA's video review system at a television camera minutes after a stoppage-time goal by Spain forward Iago Aspas was allowed to stand in the 2-2 draw at Kaliningrad.

    FIFA says one disciplinary charge related to six Morocco staff who "forced their way into the pitch after the final whistle." Assistant coach Patrice Beaumelle was also warned for "improper behavior."

    Another charge was for crowd disturbances by Moroccan fans throwing objects in the stadium.

    Morocco federation president Fouzi Lekjaa was warned for coming to the team technical area during the game.

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  • Transfers: Achraf Hakimi to Join Dortmund on Loan

    (Morocco World News) Rabat – Moroccan 19-year old central defender Achraf Hakimi is expected to join Borussia Dortmund on loan from Real Madrid next season.

    The German outlet Kicker announced that Real Madrid is set to sign a deal with Germany’s Dortmund for Hakimi as the football club is planning to look for a “backup” for their Lukasz Piszczek.

    According to Tribuna, the Spanish giant aims to make Hakimi “gain the similar experience as Dani Carvajal,” who played for Bayer Leverkusen for the 2012/2013 season.

    The sports outlet added that the club has not confirmed the news, but volunteered to Kicker that the news “make sense.”

    The rising star made his official debut at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on October 1, 2017, when Real Madrid’s key defender Dani Carvajal could not play due to injury. The footballer netted his first goal for his Spanish team on December 10 against Sevilla, becoming the first Moroccan ever to score for Real Madrid.

    Born in Spain to Moroccan parents, Hakimi was also the first Moroccan footballer to win Champions League with Real Madrid on May 26.

    The Moroccan footballer also delivered a spectacular performance in the 2018 World Cup against the deadly group of the World Cup: Group B.

    In February, CIES Football Observatory ranked the international footballer among Europe’s “50 most promising under-20 footballers.”

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  • Transfers: Roma handed Ziyech boosts

    By Football Italia

    Roma are handed a double boost for Hakim Ziyech as Ajax have signed his replacement and confirmed ‘he already has a deal elsewhere’.

    The comments made by Ajax boss Erik ten Hag come after his club brought in Serbia international Dusan Tadic from Southampton.

    Furthermore, Calciomercato.com claims Ziyech has agreed a five-year contract with Roma worth €2.5m a season, while the Giallorossi are ready to offer €30m plus bonuses for the Moroccan.

    “I know he already has another deal elsewhere,” admitted the Coach.

    “He’s a big loss. If you love football, you’ll love Hakim Ziyech. Aside from his technical qualities, it’s his footballing intelligence that makes him so strong.

    “He also has the ability to run a lot: all this makes him a special player. It’s clear that I would’ve liked to keep him at Ajax, I think I could’ve still taught him something.

    “He’s a complete player, but if I have to mention a characteristic in particular, it’s his ability in one-on-ones. Often you can’t get past him. He has raw power.

    “Will he maintain his performances abroad? If you’re the best in the Netherlands, I don’t think he’ll have any problems.”

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  • NT: Renard won't discuss his future after defiant farewell draw

    (Reuters) - Morocco coach Herve Renard declined to talk about his future with the national team following an encouraging and defiant 2-2 draw against Spain in their final World Cup match on Monday.

    The North Africans finished bottom of Group B with one point but were unlucky not to end their campaign with a memorable win against Spain, after substitute Iago Aspas scored in stoppage time to earn the 2010 world champions a 2-2 draw.

    “For the time being we are savouring the moment,” Frenchman Renard, who took charge of Morocco in 2016, said when asked about his future. “I will think of the future later on.

    “Let’s wait until the end of the World Cup... It’s been an exceptional experience. We have learnt a great deal in three matches. We learnt what it is to play at a very high level.”

    Morocco showed plenty of attacking intent in the contest and led twice through Khalid Boutaib and Youssef En-Nesyri. Spain had hit back through Isco before Aspas struck late on.

    “We would have loved to get a win over Spain, this is why we came here tonight. We suffered just like any other team that takes on Spain,” Renard added.

    “When you look at the lineup it’s a mix of Real Madrid and Barcelona so these are outstanding players so our team should be commended.

    “We lacked experience... We needed it in order to progress but we showed we were able to take on two of the best teams in the world in Spain and Portugal.

    “We showed we could represent Morocco in a World Cup. We’ll keep this tournament in our minds, it was a magical moment.”

    The draw helped Spain pip Portugal to top spot on goals scored after both teams were level on five points and a similar goal difference. The European champions were held to a 1-1 draw by Iran in the day’s other match.

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  • Holland: Ajax admits 'inadequate' Abdelhak Nouri medical treatment after on-field heart attack

    (Goal.com) The midfielder collapsed during a friendly fixture in July 2017, with the incident leading to him suffering severe and permanent brain damage

    Ajax have taken responsibility for "inadequate" faults in their medical treatment of Abdelhak Nouri after the midfielder suffered an on-field heart attack in July 2017.

    A product of the club’s academy system collapsed during a friendly clash with Werder Bremen.

    He was offered medical assistance on the pitch and quickly rushed off to hospital in a trauma helicopter, but was left with severe and permanent brain damage as a result of the incident.

    Ajax claimed at the time that they had acted appropriately and done all that they could to aid the then 20-year-old when the promising player collapsed.

    The Eredivisie outfit have, however, after further investigation, now accepted responsibility for failings on their part, with managing director Edwin van der Sar saying in a statement posted on the club’s official website: “We have important news about the further course of the terrible incident with Abdelhak Nouri last year.

    “On the basis of new insights that we have unfortunately only been able to collect very recently, we come to new conclusions. It means that the treatment of Abdelhak on the field in Austria in July, 2017 was inadequate. We therefore recognise liability for the consequences thereof. First of all, I would like to apologise to the Nouri family at this place for allowing us to change our position so late.

    “Last year we paid a lot of attention to the medical treatment on the field in Austria with regard to Abdelhak's accident. A lot has been said and written about that. Unfortunately, we ended up in a situation in which, for a short time, our conclusions and those of the family and her advisers have diverged. I want to emphasise that we regret that this is so.

    “As a club, we first based our analysis of the treatment on the field on the information we received from our own people, but also on television images and other medical data. An external medical advisor, who was assisted by an intensive care physician, assessed all available information of that moment for us and provided a professional second opinion.

    Abdelhak Nouri

    “At a certain moment the situation was this: after all available information was submitted by Ajax to his medical and legal advisers, they concluded that the treatment on the field was adequate and that on the basis of that conclusion there is no reason for liability from the club. This judgement is also based on television images and on the reading of the heart rate monitor Abdelhak had.

    "A heartbeat was detected by the practitioners on the field and this was subsequently confirmed by the results of the heart rate monitor. Based on that information and external opinion, we as a club have taken the position that there was no reason to assume that the field did not work well.

    “The petition filed by the Nouri family with the Dutch FA [KNVB] contained new information for us, which was an important reason to ask other experts for a third opinion. We have begun to doubt the conclusions of our advisers. And we obviously wanted 100 per cent certainty that our position was correct. Hence questions arose about the information underlying the previous medical advice and the position taken on that basis. This had to be investigated further. In the interest of Abdelhak and his family. And of the other players, employees and supporters of Ajax.”

    Van der Sar added: “For a long time we, as management, but also our medical staff, were convinced that Abdelhak received the best possible care in the field. If then, by leading cardiologists, after a thorough examination of the circumstances, things are looked at differently, this is hard. Even though we have insisted on this third opinion ourselves .

    “The first thing we will do is to consult with the Nouri family again. The point now is that we do what is necessary to give substance to the responsibility that we, as a club, but certainly also as a person, as colleagues and friends of Appie, have. We want to solve this in a good way and that is what is now focused on.

    “The use of the arbitration case was whether we acted adequately in the field. That is not the case and we obviously take responsibility for that. We have also previously promised the family that if we find out that we are wrong, we will take responsibility. Which regulation this is going to lead to is something that we will first discuss with the family. I want to offer our very deep apologies to Abdelhak, also in front of you, on behalf of Ajax, his family and relatives.

    "It must have been terribly frustrating that it took so long that our lectures diverged, on top of the grief of what happened to Abdelhak.”

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  • Press review: Spain set up last 16 clash with Russia after snatching late draw against eliminated Morocco

    (RT) A dramatic late goal from Iago Aspas produced an extraordinary climax to Group B, with Spain capturing first place following a 2-2 draw with Morocco, due to events in a parallel match between Portugal and Iran.

    Morocco, who played well in their first two games, but only managed to get on the scoresheet once their fate was sealed, leave Russia with their heads held high, and a distinct feeling of what might have been.

    The Mediterranean rivals made their intentions clear from the start, with a series of niggles and hard tackles that produced four Morocco yellow cards in the first half, though the sides settled as the game went on.

    Following an exchange of back passes that lulled Spain’s own players into torpitude, a terrible mix-up between Iniesta and Sergio Ramos set Khalid Boutaib racing free from the half-way line. The striker stared down David de Gea before launching the ball confidently between the keeper’s legs.

    Spain struck back almost immediately, with Iniesta slicing through Morocco’s penalty box, before crossing to Isco, who swept the assist into the roof of the net.

    But despite pretty patterns in midfield, Spain was not able to assert control, with Boutaib enjoying another one-to-one chance, stopped by De Gea this time, and Gerard Pique receiving a let-off from the referee for a studs-up, two-footed tackle that could have been a red card in a different game.

    Morocco came out to play in the second half, with Nordin Amrabat smashing a 30-yard effort into the very top corner of the goal, only for the ball to bounce back out, all before de Gea had a chance to react.

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  • WC 2018: Morocco held by Spain 2-2

    Final Whiste!

    95' Free-kick for Spain

    90' Hakimi booked!

    Spain leveled up again 2-2

    88' Munir booked

    85' Aziz Bouhaddouz replaced Hakim Ziyech

    84' Free-kick for Spain

    En-Nesiry scores for Morocco!!! 2-1 vs Spain, great header from En-Nesiry!

    81' Corner for Morocco

    80' Chance for Morocco by Ziyech

    76' Free-kick for Morocco

    71' Youssef En-Nesiry replaced Khalid Boutaib

    63' Fayçal Fajr replaced Belhanda

    63' Corner for Spain

    62' Great save by Saiss!

    59' Free-kick for Spain

    55' Great shot by Amrabat hit the post!

    54' Corner for Spain

    50' Great chance for Boussoufa

    Second half underway!

    Half Time!

    2 minutes of additional time

    43' Good shot from Ziyech

    40' Free-kick for Spain

    37' Corner for Spain

    34' Corner for Spain

    31' Boussoufa booked

    30' Da Costa booked

    29' Amrabat booked

    24' Boutaib wasted a real chance to score, face to face with De Gea!

    22' El Ahmadi booked

    2'' Isco leveled up for Spain 1-1 Morocco

    Boutaib opens the scoring for Morocco 1-0 Spain

    6' Corner for Spain

    Match is underway!

    Herve Renard has made a very surprising change, leaving out captain Mehdi Benatia, who is replaced by Manuel Da Costa.

    Kickoff: 18h00 GMT, 20h00 CET

    Competition: World Cup 2018, Group Stage

    Referee: IRMATOV Ravshan (UZB)

    Morocco vs Spain, starting line ups:

    Morocco

    12-EL KAJOUI,2-HAKIMI,4-DA COSTA,6-SAISS,7-ZIYACH,8-EL AHMADI,10-BELHANDA,13-BOUTAIB,14-BOUSSOUFA (C),16-N. AMRABAT,17-DIRAR

    Spain

    1-DE GEA,2-CARVAJAL,3-PIQUÉ,5-SERGIO,6-A. INIESTA,10-THIAGO,15-RAMOS,18-JORDI ALBA,19-DIEGO COSTA,21-SILVA,22-ISCO

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  • Mor vs Esp: Spain approaching Morocco with 'eyes open', says Hierro

    (AFP) Spain coach Fernando Hierro said Sunday his players would not make the mistake of underestimating a Morocco side playing for pride in their World Cup Group B decider in Kaliningrad.

    Spain need a result from Monday's encounter and Hierro vowed his players would not take the North Africans lightly.

    "We know that Morocco is an excellent team," he told reporters.

    "We cant afford to relax... We need to be awake with our eyes open and be aware that Morocco aren't going to give anything away."

    The 2010 winners drew their opener 3-3 with European champions Portugal and, after making hard work of a narrow 1-0 win over Iran, they need at least a point to make the last 16 for the first time since that tournament.

    "It's always tough against teams who are eliminated," Hierro said. "Mathematically we have not yet qualified and we have to give the match the importance it deserves."

    Morocco were the first team eliminated from Russia but coach Herve Renard on Sunday claimed his side had been on the wrong end of several refereeing decisions during successive 1-0 losses.

    "When you look at the facts in the Portugal game, it's totally unfair," Renard said.

    "For the goal we conceded, there was an obvious foul by (defender) Pepe at the front post. Why did (the referee) not see it?

    "It's unfair that we're already eliminated but we have to accept reality."

    Spain midfielder Sergio Busquets said he had some sympathy.

    "Often football is not fair," he told reporters. "It's true that at the level they've been playing they deserve more than zero points. But it's hard to win matches at this World Cup."

    Spain dominated the international game for nearly a decade, winning an unprecedented Euro and World Cup treble between 2008-2012 with their brand of high-tempo, possession-based play anchored by the legendary Barcelona linchpin Xavi.

    But a new generation of playmakers are making their World Cup bow this time around, including young Real Madrid trio Isco, Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio.

    Hierro singled out Isco for praise after the midfielder's impressive performances against Portugal and Iran.

    "Isco always contributes with his quality and hardwork, he's good one on one, he can sneak between lines and he's hard to pin down," said Hierro, himself a Real alumnus.

    Depending on the Portugal result, a win or draw Monday would see Spain play either Russia or Uruguay from Group A in the second round -- their first World Cup knockout game since winning the final in Johannesburg eight years ago.

    The build-up this time around was chaotic, with Hierro only given the head coach role two days before the Portugal tie after Julen Lopetegui's spectacular sacking.

    Hierro said the squad were focused and eager to go far in the tournament after Spain's disastrous first-round exit four years ago in Brazil.

    "You could focus on what happened four years ago or eight years ago," he said.

    "These lads have been world and European champions. We're not focusing on the past, now is the time to fight to win our group."

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  • Mor vs Esp: Angry Morocco are not leaving World Cup quietly

    (Reuters) Kaliningrad: Morocco will play their final World Cup match with a big chip on their shoulders, with their coach taking a few early parting shots at referees and officials on Sunday ahead of the team's Group B clash with Spain.

    A still-fuming Morocco coach Herve Renard seemed to be more focused on the 1-0 loss to Portugal last Wednesday than their Monday match against Spain and the chance of heading home with a big scalp.

    The heart-breaking defeat to the European champions meant that Morocco would become the first team out of the World Cup and stung even more by what Renard viewed as questionable officiating.

    "For us it is unjust we are already out before these third matches, but we have to accept reality and concentrate on this third game and to save our honour since this is all that is left to us," said Renard.

    "The most difficult thing is to play this kind of match knowing we will have to pack and go home and leave the competition.

    "We have to force ourselves to find something to fight for.

    "I hope we will be galvanised by what has been inflicted against us, and this is what I will try to tell my players."

    A battling Morocco have played with energy and purpose, but a lack of finishing left the North African side with nothing more to show for their effort than a pair of 1-0 losses to Portugal and Iran.

    Renard was still particularly upset at what he felt was a foul by Portugal's Pepe on Khalid Boutaib that opened the way for Ronaldo's fourth minute goal.

    "It is highly unfair," said Renard. "There was a huge foul committed by Pepe on the first post, it was not seen. Why wasn't it seen?

    "And there was Pepe's hand (ball) just as happened in Australia against Denmark for which there was a penalty. It may have been an unintentional hand, but why do we get different results in two games?

    "And then Boutaib is tackled violently in the box and the referees don't say a word, so the whole thing is totally unfair."

    While Morocco will be playing for honour, Spain will be seeking something much more tangible.

    Having already secured a place in the knockout round, Spain enter their final group match on four points, equal with Portugal but with top spot up for grabs.

    "As far as we are concerned we will play the same way we played against Portugal and Iran and so the best we can," said Moroccan goalkeeper Munir Mohamedi. "We haven't been fortunate with respect to the final results, but I do think we do deserve this reward and give some joy to the squad and all the people who supported us."

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  • Referee designations FWC 2018 Match 36: #ESP🆚#MAR⁠ ⁠⁠(25 June):

    Referee: Ravshan IRMATOV (UZB)

    ASR 1: Abduxam. RASULOV (UZB)

    ASR 2: Jakhongir SAIDOV (UZB)

    4th Off. MOHAM. ABDULLA (UAE)

    Res.Ass Moham.ALHAMMADI (USA)

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