What can you expect from Boufal, Saiss and Morocco in the World Cup: SWOT analysis

Morocco’s national football team has participated five times in the FIFA World Cup. They have qualified for this World Cup after a 20-year absence, with an impressive record of 4 wins, 3 draws and 1 loss, conceding just a single goal in the process.

The best defensive record in the qualifiers across the 32 teams that reached Russia came from Herve Renard’s Atlas Lions. They have been drawn alongside Spain, Portugal and Iran in what seems to be a competitive Group B.

Morocco open their tournament with a game against Iran on 15th June. They are also bidding to host the 2026 World Cup and are competing against a joint bid from Canada, Mexico and the United States.

Strengths

Morocco may lack experience in such a competitive level but their defensive ability was very much at display during the qualifiers. They topped their group during those stages, conceding only a single goal.

Mehdi Benatia

This was mainly due to the efforts of their rigid defence, led by Mehdi Benatia, who plies his trade for Juventus, one of the toughest teams to breach.

Their goalkeeper Munir Mohand Mohamedi has been a rock at the back, making crucial saves throughout the qualifiers, especially in their final game against Ivory Coast. He was the only goalkeeper in the third round to go all six matches without conceding a goal.

Southampton’s Sofiane Boufal and Wolves’ Romain Saiss will have a key role to play. They have both excelled for their respective clubs this season and will be hoping to perform well for their country.

Weaknesses

Most of their players are playing the World Cup for the first time, which will make it difficult for them against big teams like Spain and Portugal.

Sofiane Boufal

They sometimes lack the cutting edge needed to win against bigger sides, often relying on their defence to shut out games. The lack of experience may be the downfall of the team in this World Cup but there’s always a next time to improve.

Manager

Hervé Renard is known for his tough and rigid defensive approach which often frustrates his opponents, catching them on the counter. He certainly possesses the qualities required to lead this Moroccan team to success.

World Cup History

They have qualified for the World Cup after a 20-year absence. The Atlas Lions have taken part in the cup 5 times before this.

Herve Renard

Their best performance was in the 1986 cup when they advanced to the second round, being the first African nation to do so. In 1998, the team narrowly missed repeating the same achievement.

Key Player

Mehdi Benatia is surely their key player. He is a leader at the back and brings a lot of experience and authority along with his defensive abilities. It will be up to him to keep their confidence and momentum going if they are to have any chance of making it past the group stages.

Verdict

Though the team fared reasonably well during the qualifiers, it is hard to see them go past the group stages, especially with the presence of Spain and Portugal, who have been in sublime form. It would be a mammoth achievement if they do go past the group stages, which seems like a mission impossible at this point.

Prediction: Eliminated in group stages

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