There is a lot of talk about Morocco in the World Cup. They became the first country in Africa and the Arab region to reach the semi-finals.
Geographically the country is in North Africa but in football the culture is European.
Among the team’s star players is Ashraf Hakimi, who played for Paris Saint-Germain, was born in Madrid and played for Real’s youth team.
Another Moroccan star, Hakim Ziyez, grew up in the Netherlands and rose to fame playing for Ajax.
The coast of Morocco is easily visible from Spain’s Andalusia.
The country adopted Spain’s rondo style of football. Their players have slim build, flexible body and good football technique.
They defend with devotion and counterattack with courage.
“We have to copy European-style football and add our own values to it,” Morocco coach Walid Regragui said.
The Moroccan coach’s strategy has been very successful. They beat Spain in the last sixteen and Portugal in the quarter-finals to reach the semi-finals of the tournament.
Spain and Germany have already withdrawn from the tournament. England also left the last eight. And Italy did not get a chance to participate in the tournament.
Four of Europe’s five World Cup-winning teams are now watching the World Cup at home. Despite this, I will say that European football has won the World Cup in Qatar.
Because almost all the important players of the teams that reached the quarter finals play in European clubs. Having developed themselves by playing in highly competitive leagues.
Argentina and Brazil have to be told separately.
These two giants of the Latin region have not won the World Cup trophy for a long time. However, they have always entered the tournament as a strong team. So the world of football has not really changed in Qatar.
Morocco emerged as the surprise of the tournament, though not much of a surprise for me. Such surprises are always seen in football and it adds a new feather to the huge appeal of football.
Argentina is my bet for this World Cup. Their players are well versed in the fundamentals of football. For example, they have become skilled in playing individual possession of the ball with opposing players on the field (one-to-one), defensive and offensive tactics and aggressive football.
These individual skills are buried behind the debate of tactics and systems. But to win in football, there must be quality in the players.
Everyone has seen Messi’s unconditional squeeze on the field. Argentina has managed to knit the team together with dedicated supporters. And the fans are seeing a team on the field that is dedicated to putting smiles on their faces. By watching their performance, you can understand why they are playing football.
Everything is under the control of Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni. Usually the shackles of discipline are lighter in the national team. Because the players rarely get a chance to practice and stay together. But the Argentina team is performing like the Champions League clubs.
Their plan consists of consistently taking control of the ball and blocking opposing forwards. It’s a defensive idea, but it’s a strategy to keep ourselves safe. Because Argentina also know how to keep the ball at their feet, know how to counter attack the opponent’s post.
In addition, Scaloni knows how to spread the unique skills of 35-year-old Lionel Messi among the entire team. Scaloni said in an interview that he deliberately did not call Messi into the team at the beginning after taking charge.
As if Argentina could learn to go it alone without their biggest star. He brought Messi into the team after the boys reached a level in terms of quality. So that they can qualify to take something from Messi.
Ever since the final loss to us (Germany) at the Maracana Stadium in 2014, there has been something exciting about the Argentina team.
Then Messi was only their (Argentina team) leader. Argentina used to look at Messi in any situation or crisis.
As if Messi will appear as a savior in all situations. He will get down on his shoulders. The 2022 team is not just looking at Messi.
Rather, this time they are playing with their lives for Messi. And Messi is pinching himself to celebrate his farewell.