World Cup Qatar 2022
The Moroccan coach assures that his team has sent a message to the world: “You have to believe”
When Walid Regragui entered the press room, the Moroccan journalists rose and applauded him. The coach thanked him, sat down and reeled off, in French, English and Arabic, the details of a historic victory. Regragui recognized that Portugal had caused them more problems than Spain, but he praised the faith of his men. “We don’t have the same weapons as other teams, but this is like life. Even if you have less talent, less money… with work everything can be done. It’s not a miracle. Only work. We have beaten Belgium, Spain, Portugal, and that is no miracle.
Regragui appreciated the enthusiasm not only of the Moroccan people, but of all of Africa and the Arab world. He recalled that, when Morocco qualified for the World Cup, many people thought that with that they had already met their goals and that they were not going to get past the group stage. And yet, they are now in the semi-finals and have achieved a historic milestone. “You have to believe. Even if you are a smaller team, you have to believe. Neither the players nor I traveled here to play only three games.
A meeting now separates Morocco from the final of a World Cup. And why aren’t we going to win it? he wondered. Regragui assured that his team is the best of all “in heart and desire” and that this has allowed them to overcome injuries, illnesses and other setbacks until they reach the quarterfinals. The Moroccan coach, born on the outskirts of Paris, assures that with this feat they have sent a message to future generations of footballers, both Moroccan and African: “It is possible. With work it is possible », he repeated several times.
Yassine Bono, the Sevilla goalkeeper, voted best player of the match, appeared with him. Bono was elated, although he confessed that it was very difficult for him to “describe that feeling.” He shared with his coach the idea that this victory could contribute to “changing the mentality” of the next generations of Moroccan footballers: “We can achieve it. We can take on anyone.”
Santos: “I don’t regret not having started Cristiano”
The Portuguese coach, Fernando Santos, appeared in the press room saddened but with his usual stony face. The journalists asked him if he regretted not having started Cristiano Ronaldo and Santos flatly denied it: “No. I do not regret. We played very well against Switzerland and this Saturday we included Cristiano when we thought it was necessary. So there is no regret. It was unfair that we went to rest with a goal against, but this is football, “he replied.
Santos did not share the criticism against the referee of any of his players, such as Pepe, and emphasized the lack of luck to materialize some chances and the brilliant defensive work of Morocco. On Cristiano’s tears, he stressed: «The two people most upset and affected by today are perhaps Cristiano Ronaldo and me; but this is part of football.
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