Regragui: “My players are still hungry and want to take home a medal”

DOHA, Dec. 16 (dpa/EP) –

Morocco’s coach, Walid Regragui, admits that the game for third place in the World Cup is the “worst game” that can be played, although he acknowledged that his players are still “hungry” and this Saturday against Croatia at the Khalifa International Stadium they expect become the first African nation to medal at a World Cup.

“We would have liked things to be different and play the final, but there is another game to play, we would like to be on the podium. We know that Croatia also wants to finish third, we played against them in our first game, so it will be nice “, declared in the previous press conference, where he confessed that it is “the worst game that can be played”.

After defeating Belgium, Spain and Portugal to reach the semi-finals, Morocco lost 2-0 to defending champions France and now hopes to surpass the Balkans to become the first African nation to medal at a World Cup .

In addition, he is aware that “it will not be a walk”, especially since the checkered team “had one more day of rest”. “We have to clear up a bit, but when you come from a semi-final, the first time we’ve faced one, emotions are running high and it’s quite difficult,” she said.

“However, my players continue to have that hunger to want to finish well and they know that they still have a game to play with everything to be decided. Finishing third is not the same as finishing fourth, and we want to take a medal home with us,” he stressed.

In a different vein, Regragui supported the Moroccan Football Association’s official complaint to FIFA after they were not awarded a penalty during the semi-final and Sofiane Boufal was booked when she appeared to have been fouled by Theo Hernández. “In war and in love, anything goes, our Association wanted to present the complaint, and I think it did well, but that doesn’t change anything for us,” he said.

“We should have had a penalty and Sofiane should not have gotten that yellow card. It’s not the end of the road for us, we’re still playing for third place, even the best nations are playing for third place,” he added.

On the other hand, Regregui assured that after the World Cup, Morocco will have “a completely different status” due to its good performance in Qatar. “I don’t need to motivate my team, we are at the World Cup representing Morocco. We want to win even the friendlies, so the goal is to get that third place, we want to go up in the FIFA rankings. If we finish third in a World Cup, we will go up a lot We want to show what we are made of and also pave the way for the future of Moroccan football,” he warned.

Finally, the Moroccan coach confirmed that captain Romain Saiss will not be fit for the final, having abandoned the semifinal match after 20 minutes after having played at only “60-70%”. “We lost our captain Romain Saiss during the game, we took a risk, but it was worth it,” he said.

“We wanted to go out into battle with him at the head of the battalion. We have another couple of players injured, but we’ll see how it goes. We’ve pushed our players to the limit of their strength, but they still want to go out tomorrow and play again. Romain Saiss is ruled out for this match for third place,” he concluded.