By Fernando Kallas TANGIER, Morocco (Reuters) – World Cup semi-finalists Morocco will not hold back in their friendly against Brazil on Saturday as they aim to deliver a statement win against the five-time world champions in their first home game after an outstanding Qatar 2022 campaign. Manager Walid Regragui said his team can afford to […]
Soccer-Morocco to be more daring against Brazil than in World Cup says Regragui
By Fernando Kallas
TANGIER, Morocco (Reuters) – World Cup semi-finalists Morocco will not hold back in their friendly against Brazil on Saturday as they aim to deliver a statement win against the five-time world champions in their first home game after an outstanding Qatar 2022 campaign.
Manager Walid Regragui said his team can afford to be more daring than they were in the World Cup where a solid defence were key to helping them eliminate more fancied Spain and Portugal on their way to the last four.
“Against Brazil we can’t change our identity, pretend to be something who we are not, but we can take more risks that we could not afford to take in the World Cup,” Regragui told a news conference on Friday.
“Any mistake in the World Cup could be costly. On Saturday it’s a friendly game and perhaps we could be more daring and try different things that we could not do in a World Cup match.”
After leading Morocco to become the first Arab team to reach the quarter-finals and the first African team to make the semis, Regragui said he was counting on the fans to be a major factor on Saturday at a sold-out Ibn Batouta Stadium.
The match will be attended by 65,000 supporters who are still pumped with pride after a World Cup run that spurred tears of joy across Africa and the Arab world.
“Our crowd will be our 12th player,” Regragui said.
“It would be great for our national pride to win against Brazil for the first time and we will go out there with a big smile on our faces to meet our loyal fans that were so great during our World Cup run.”
Morocco captain Romain Saiss agreed but went further by saying the players face Saturday’s game like a must-win.
“It’s going to be more than a great match against one of the best teams in the world. It’s going to be a celebration of our accomplishments but there is no party with a defeat.
“We want to celebrate with our fans and for that celebration to be complete we need to play well and win the game.”
(Reporting by Fernando Kallas; Editing by Ken Ferris)