Analysts are praising Morocco’s Atlas Lions for thus far putting up a stellar performance at the 2022 FIFA World Cup and advancing to the Round of 16 in first position of a tricky Group F - while being undefeated against Croatia, Belgium, and Canada.
The North African side opened their World Cup campaign on November 23 with a 0-0 result against the 2018 finalists, Croatia.
Despite the 0-0 result, the 2018 finalists found themselves dominating the field while maintaining a majority 57 percent ball possession, six attempts at goal and two shots on target. The Atlas Lions had a minority 32 percent ball possession – 12 percent was in contest- threatened at goal eight times and had two shots on target.
Having held the 2018 finalists to a 0-0 draw and obtaining one point from their opening fixture, the Moroccans went on to show their class in their second and third fixtures after they defeated Belgium 2-0 on November 27 and again emerged victorious on December first after they beat Canada 2-1.
Walid Regragui, the head coach for the Atlas Lions Monday addressed a news conference during which he expressed confidence in his sides ability to continue their undefeated streak.
“I told the players before the World Cup that we’re only playing finals here and so far, we played three finals in the group phase and now its our fourth final,” said Regragui.
"I loved our second half against Canada, we stuck to our plan, stayed concentrated, and against Spain, we'll have to play the whole game like this," he added.
Luis Enrique, Spain’s head coach commended the Atlas Lions for their performance at the World Cup but added, his team is prepared to knock them out of the global tournament.
“Morocco are in the best mood at the moment and are highly motivated after a spectacular group stage where they topped a tricky group,” said Enrique.
“I’m very satisfied with what I’ve seen in training and am convinced that we will achieve a good result to advance,” he added.
African football fans that spoke to VOA in Qatar say the Atlas Lions are their final hope towards seeing the continent make history at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.