It's sure Morocco will fight to achieve ‘crazy’ dream of reaching World Cup final

Walid Regragui says Morocco will fight to achieve their ‘crazy’ dream of a place in the World Cup final.

Morocco have already made history as the first African team to reach the last four, having stunned Belgium, Spain and Portugal along the way.

And tonight they face the ultimate test against world champions France. But coach Regragui insists they are not satisfied with a place in the semi-finals.

‘The further you get, the more difficult the games are. We are playing the world champions with world-class players and a very good coach, possibly the best in the world,’ he said.

‘But we will show great desire and try to pull off an upset. Why not reach the final of the World Cup? We’ve come to this competition to change mindsets within our continent. If we say the semi-final is enough, I don’t agree.

‘We aren’t satisfied with the semi-final and being the first African team to do that. fIt’s a knockout game and when you have desire, commitment and the support of the crowd, you can win it.

‘We have beaten some top sides. Before every match people thought we would get knocked out but we are still here. We are getting closer to our dreams and we will fight to get there.

Morocco’s goalie Yassine ‘Bono’ Bounou has never conceded a goal in the tournament so far

‘We are one of the four best teams in the world now and want to reach the final. The best team, Brazil, is already out. We are hungry. I don’t know if it will be enough but we want Africa to be on top of the world. I know we are not favourites but we are confident.

‘You might think that’s crazy but a bit of craziness is good.’

Morocco’s bid to reach the final could be scuppered by injuries, particularly at the back, with West Ham centre-half Nayef Aguerd and ex-Wolves defender Romain Saiss major doubts.

Morocco fans celebrate Portugal’s defeat in Trafalgar Square

Regragui added: ‘As everyone knows, we have a number of injuries but we have an excellent medical staff and they are working very hard and coming in with good news every day.

Around 20,000 Moroccan fans are expected at the Al Bayt Stadium. QPR winger Ilias Chair said: ‘It’s a great honour to play for these fans and make them proud. They are the best in the world. We are out there to give our all and hopefully, at the end, be the best.’

Kylian Mbappe of France and Achraf Hakimi of Morocco

The build-up to England’s quarter-final against France was dominated by discussion about whether the Three Lions could stop flying forward Kylian Mbappe.

Gareth Southgate’s side, and Kyle Walker in particular, dealt with the 23-year-old admirably. But the holders still won 2-1. While Walker could lean on some positive previous experiences against Mbappe while playing for Manchester City in the Champions League, the Frenchman’s next opponent will be even more familiar.

Mbappe in action in match against England

Morocco right-back Achraf Hakimi is more than just a Paris Saint-Germain team-mate. The pair have shared photos together in Qatar and messaged each other, complete with love heart emojis, in the run-up to today’s game.

While Mbappe may have expected to get this far, to say Hakimi’s appearance in the semi-final is a surprise is something of an understatement. However, he has been an impressive figure in helping Morocco become the first ever African World Cup semi-finalists.

Hakimi scoring winning penalty in match against Spain

Evidence of just how well organised and difficult to play against the Atlas Lions are is shown by the fact they have taken the scalps of Belgium, Spain and Portugal without conceding a goal.

Their hopes of continuing their fairytale run may well largely hinge on whether Hakimi can stop his good friend Mbappe. But, then again, we thought something similar about England’s dreams and we know how they ended.

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