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Morocco and Senegal set for final 16 encounters: Why Qatar has been Africa’s World Cup to date | Soccer Information | NEWSRUX

It has been some World Cup for the African nations.

England will bid to achieve the final eight in Doha after they face Senegal, who’ve reached the knockout levels of the World Cup for the second time, beforehand doing so of their first look in 2002.

4 years in the past in Russia, all 5 nations hailing from the continent had been eradicated within the group levels, accumulating eight factors collectively, however in Qatar there was a beautiful resurgence on this World Cup of shocks. Cameroon fell spectacularly quick regardless of stunning five-time champions Brazil within the closing act of the group levels.

Morocco contributed seven factors alone to the 24 in whole within the group levels this time round, that includes within the knockout levels of the World Cup for under a second time, additionally reaching the spherical of 16 in 1986, dropping 1-0 to Germany that 12 months.

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Morocco followers have a good time reaching the World Cup spherical of 16 for first time in 36 years

They face Spain subsequent Tuesday of their second ever World Cup assembly to compete for a spot within the quarter-finals – within the first, within the 2018 group levels, Morocco twice took the lead earlier than drawing 2-2, with Iago Aspas scoring a last-minute Spain equaliser.

Forward of their newest battle, Sky Sports activities’ Ben Grounds spoke to award-winning African soccer journalist Usher Komugisha to debate the probabilities of Morocco and Senegal heading into the spherical of 16….

‘Morocco’s success shouldn’t be coming from the sky’

Morocco's head coach Walid Regragui is thrown in the air by his players after winning the World Cup group F soccer match between Canada and Morocco at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha , Qatar, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Morocco’s head coach Walid Regragui is thrown within the air by his gamers after their win towards Canada

“What we have seen for the primary time at this World Cup are 5 African groups with 5 African coaches. It is a historic second. Within the case of Walid Regragui, he’s a former Morocco worldwide. He understands the tradition of the nation and he is aware of what it takes to win.

“He is not been with these gamers for a really very long time having solely been appointed in August – solely three or 4 months in the past. That as when the membership season in Europe was beginning so he is had a handful of friendlies to work with the gamers.

“The important thing factor he did after his appointment was he introduced Hakim Ziyech in from the chilly. Ziyech had fallen out with Halilhodzic and did not even play on the Africa Cup of Nations.

Morocco's Hakim Ziyech celebrates his early goal against Canada
Morocco’s Hakim Ziyech celebrates his early aim towards Canada

Ziyech key to Morocco’s hopes

Hakim Ziyech scored his first World Cup aim in Morocco’s 2-1 win over Canada. He is additionally performed probably the most passes into the field (17) and created probably the most possibilities (7) of any Morocco participant at this World Cup.

He is additionally had probably the most ball carries (43), carried the ball the furthest distance (477.6m) and had probably the most take-ons following a ball carry (9) of any Morocco participant.

“When Regragui was appointed, he instructed the participant he was central to his plans, and this has been key to serving to Morocco on the World Cup. He’s their talisman but it surely’s a workforce that could be very dynamic.

“They are not simply counting on him. They’ve Youssef En-Nesyri up entrance, who’s the primary Moroccan participant to attain in two totally different World Cups.

“What we’re seeing with Morocco is reward for investing in services. It is a large downside nonetheless in Africa the place Federations do not perceive there must be pitches and academies, coaches and fashionable services.

“Morocco’s success shouldn’t be coming from the sky. It’s intentional. They’ve constructed the Mohammed VI Complicated in Maamoura overlaying virtually 30 hectares with an general funding of $65.4m (£54m) constructed over a interval of three years.

Morocco's Youssef En-Nesyri celebrates after he scored his side's second goal during the World Cup group F soccer match between Canada and Morocco at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha , Qatar, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Youssef En-Nesyri is seeking to turn out to be the primary ever Morocco participant to attain three targets on the World Cup, with the Sevilla striker stage with Salaheddine Bassir, Abdeljalil Hadda and Abderrazad Khairi on two targets

“That is being utilized by all of the nationwide groups of all age teams. The thought course of behind it’s that if they’ve the likes of Hakimi and Ziyech coming from PSG and Chelsea, they should really feel at dwelling after they come to coach for the nationwide workforce.

“The services need to be the identical, if not higher. There was a shift in mentality. This cuts throughout each sphere as Regragui received the CAF Champions League with Wydad AC in Casablanca in Might. He is an efficient man-manager.

“Towards Canada, when the sport ended, the gamers lifted him up within the air and there may be such a superb vibe which we did not see beneath Halilhodzic.

“When you think about the World Cup in its whole historical past, no overseas coach has received it with a nation since its inception in 1930. Having somebody who understands the tradition of the nation – within the circumstances of the 5 African nations – it has made an enormous distinction.”

Organisation behind Moroccan success

Morocco's Youssef En-Nesyri defends a corner
Morocco’s Youssef En-Nesyri defends a nook

“On the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this 12 months, Morocco had been eradicated by Egypt in a recreation the place they had been in the end bullied. Their mentality was questioned.

“Morocco have the higher gamers throughout the 2 groups, however on the time it was seen as a psychological block. There was a worry there, in the identical method Spain needed to overcome in 2010. The standard was not disputed, however there was a worry.

“The important thing change since then is that Morocco have modified their supervisor. Vahid Halilhodzic was in cost at AFCON however he was very conservative in his strategy regardless of having many attacking gamers.

Do you know?

Morocco are unbeaten of their final 4 matches on the World Cup (W2 D2). The one African workforce to go 5 consecutive World Cup video games with out defeat are Cameroon (W2 D3 between 1982 and 1990).

“We weren’t seeing the fluidity that we’re seeing now. The Moroccan federation took a really robust resolution to fireside Halilhodzic as not too long ago as August.

“The president of the Royal Moroccan Soccer Federation, Fouzi Lekjaa, was beneath immense stress after a 3-0 pleasant defeat to USA. They performed so badly and so one thing needed to change.

“I used to be at Morocco’s win over Canada and it was so lit. In case you take a look at their gamers, they’re within the final 16 on benefit.

Yassine Bounou has recovered from blurred vision
Yassine Bounou has recovered from blurred imaginative and prescient

“Yassine Bounou is the No 1 goalkeeper for Sevilla, and he was voted as the very best goalkeeper in La Liga. Till Canada’s aim, which was truly an personal aim by Nayef Aguerd – Morocco hadn’t conceded beneath their new coach Regragui.

“Defensively they’re very organised and strong. It is rather troublesome to attain towards Morocco.

“They’ve gamers like Achraf Hakimi, so it isn’t simply concerning the ability and the expertise. It is concerning the mentality that comes with having a Paris Saint-Germain participant within the workforce.

Morocco's Abdelhamid Sabiri, right, celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal with team mates Achraf Hakimi, left, and Sofyan Amrabat during the World Cup group F soccer match between Belgium and Morocco, at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Achraf Hakimi, left, is one among Morocco’s star gamers

“I needn’t say a lot about Hakim Ziyech however it’s true he has not had a lot enjoying time within the Premier League this season at Chelsea. However Ziyech is a world-class participant.

“In case you consider in him and in the event you give him a possibility, he’ll ship. He is similar to Morocco as Riyad Mahrez is to Algeria. He’s usually on the bench for Man Metropolis, however when he comes on he can change the sport.

“Abdelhamid Sabiri [who now plays for Sampdoria] grew up in Germany and truly performed for his or her under-21s. That form of early publicity within the Bundesliga is now coming in very useful.

Morocco's Abdelhamid Sabiri celebrates after scoring
Morocco’s Abdelhamid Sabiri celebrates after scoring

“Morocco is a type of nations which have so many gamers who had been truly born in Europe. They’re very uncovered from a really younger age to excessive services and a distinct mentality.

“Morocco as a rustic proper now has invested a lot in infrastructure, manpower and training workers. A FIFA delegate was telling me that he discovered Morocco to be probably the most organised African workforce on the World Cup, so the outcomes have not shocked me.”

‘Morocco are enjoying at dwelling’

Morocco fans have outnumbered their counterparts
Morocco followers have outnumbered their counterparts

“Morocco are an Arab workforce so enjoying at Qatar means they’re at dwelling. They performed right here within the Arab Cup final December with simply locally-based gamers and reached the semi-finals.

“Regardless that there wasn’t a participant in that squad who’s a part of this group, it highlights the purpose that they really feel at dwelling.

“It’s a must to think about then that there are such a lot of Moroccans who stay in Qatar and the King of Morocco Mohammed VI put aside two planes and subsidised the value for tickets so followers may come and watch the event.

“In case you enter the stadium throughout Morocco’s group video games, the environment has been like dwelling matches. You’ll be able to put the Moroccan followers at this World Cup alongside Argentina and Mexico.

“Their help has been intense and that has actually helped the workforce.”

Senegal scouting report – Can they shock England?

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Senegal supporters in Qatar had been in optimistic temper forward of their workforce’s World Cup conflict with England on Sunday

Senegal have alternated between successful and never successful of their six World Cup conferences with European opponents, dropping 2-0 towards Netherlands of their most up-to-date recreation.

For that sequence to proceed, England must exit the event on Sunday.

Courtesy of beating Qatar and Ecuador within the group levels, the Lions of Teranga have received consecutive World Cup matches for the primary time – however may they summon the spirit of 2002 to trigger one other upset?

Cody Gakpo of the Netherlands scores his side's first goal past Senegal's goalkeeper Edouard Mendy during the World Cup, group A soccer match between Senegal and Netherlands at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Monday, Nov. 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Cody Gakpo scores previous Senegal keeper Edouard Mendy

“Senegal are the African champions for a motive,” Komugisha tells Sky Sports activities. “They’ll go into the sport towards England with a number of duty on their shoulders. They perceive they’re developing towards a really well-oiled England workforce who’re hungry for fulfillment.

“When you’ve a workforce that has Trent Alexander-Arnold coming off the bench and with followers attempting to persuade Gareth Southgate to begin Phil Foden, we’re speaking about high quality. Senegal have gamers who’ve expertise of enjoying on the highest stage.

“The goalkeeper Edouard Mendy has had a tricky season with Chelsea, after all, with Kepa Arrizabalaga being first selection till very near the World Cup. Towards the Netherlands, he had a poor recreation and was arguably at fault for each targets.

Senegal's Kalidou Koulibaly celebrates with team-mates
Senegal’s Kalidou Koulibaly celebrates with team-mates

“However he redeemed himself towards Qatar and performed an important function towards Ecuador to assist take Senegal to the final 16 for the primary time since 2002. He’s nonetheless a senior member in that aspect and he brings a number of expertise alongside Kalidou Koulibaly.

“Koulibaly had by no means scored for Senegal however then produced a striker’s aim towards Ecuador. I used to be questioning what he was doing in that place! In fact, towards England they are going to be underdogs however Aliou Cisse was the captain as a participant of the workforce that acquired to the quarter-finals in 2002.

“He’s the primary African coach to take Senegal to 2 World Cups and I keep in mind seeing him at full-time after the sport towards Ecuador, and he knelt down, seemed within the sky and punched the air. He then acquired up rapidly and folded his jacket and headed down the tunnel.

Senegal's head coach Aliou Cisse is staying calm
Senegal’s head coach Aliou Cisse is staying calm

“It confirmed that for him, Senegal have solely simply acquired began. Sure, we will have a good time however we now have a number of work to do. I can guarantee you that particularly with out Sadio Mane, his absence has united them greater than ever.

“They wish to do that for him they usually wish to do that for his or her individuals in February, the streets of Dakar had been packed. I would by no means seen a parade like that so that you noticed what it meant for them. 2022 has been a particular 12 months for Senegal.

“What higher method to announce themselves on the world stage than to defeat England.

How does this Senegal examine to the Class of ’02?

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African soccer specialist Gary Al Smith discusses the primary strengths and weaknesses throughout the Senegal workforce forward of their FIFA World Cup match with England

They’ve crushed the defending champions earlier than in France again in 2002. Nobody anticipated that as they had been this new workforce from Arica enjoying within the opening recreation.

“I keep in mind the face of Emmanuel Petit that day. The workforce in 2002 had been legendary. It’s a must to return to 1990 with Cameroon and Roger Milla, or Nigeria’s workforce of 1994 at USA to speak about such a spirited workforce.

“With Cameroon in 1990, there isn’t any workforce who may presumably eclipse them because it was a complete shock. Cameroonians consider Milla is their greatest participant ever to grace a soccer pitch – it doesn’t matter what Samuel Eto’o has achieved. For Senegal followers, there isn’t any comparability with the Golden Era of 2002.

Senegal's Ismaila Sarr celebrates his goal with team-mates
African nations have misplaced eight of their 9 World Cup knockout spherical video games towards European sides

“The present workforce has achieved one thing that no different group of gamers have achieved from Senegal in successful the Africa Cup of Nations. They should be revered, however when it comes to how they’re seen, the 2002 workforce actually is particular.

“In fact, Cisse is a part of each. He’s like an older brother for these gamers. Regardless that Mendy and Koulibaly are a lot taller than him, you watch them look down when he speaks and hearken to his each phrase.

Senegal fans pay tribute to the late Papa Bouba Diop
Senegal followers pay tribute to the late Papa Bouba Diop

“They perceive that there’s a complete new technology that’s wanting as much as them. I keep in mind speaking to Sadio Mane a few months in the past, and he instructed me that he was in awe of the 2002 workforce – how a lot he needed to emulate the likes of El Hadji Diouf.

“There’s a duty on this workforce – and it isn’t nearly reaching the quarter-finals. It is a few nation who’s hungry for fulfillment. It is a continent that wishes to make a press release. Africa solely have 5 slots on the World Cup finals out of 54 nations.

“It is crucial that the African champions beat England.”

Sarr shoulders burden of Mane absence

Senegal's Ismaila Sarr celebrates after converting his penalty
Ismaila Sarr is essential to Senegal’s hopes

“When it comes to filling Sadio Mane’s place, Ismaila Sarr is enjoying the identical function. He’s a dynamic participant who will nonetheless play if Mane was enjoying, however now the burden of expectation is absolutely on him. He has to regulate to the way in which that the coach desires to play, but it surely additionally will depend on the opponent.

“Towards England, a aspect that’s quick and places a number of stress on defenders, it will be very fascinating to see how Cisse units up his workforce. Cisse was a defender by commerce so he’ll arrange his aspect to restrict possibilities conceded.

Senegal's Idrissa Gueye is suspended against England
Senegal’s Idrissa Gueye is suspended towards England

“The lack of Idrissa Gueye in midfield can be felt. He’s an enormous participant for Senegal and it complicates issues as he comes with Premier League expertise. He performs for Everton however he is performed with the likes of Lionel Messi at PSG. He is somebody who is aware of tips on how to learn the sport, and make tackles.

“For Senegal, he’s additionally somebody who creates, so it is a large blow.”

Who performs who within the final 16?

Saturday December 3

  • Netherlands vs USA – Kick-off 3pm
  • Argentina vs Australia – Kick-off 7pm

Sunday December 4

  • France vs Poland – Kick-off 3pm
  • England vs Senegal – Kick-off 7pm

Monday December 5

  • Japan vs Croatia – Kick-off 3pm
  • Brazil vs South Korea – Kick-off 7pm

Tuesday December 6

  • Morocco vs Spain – Kick-off 3pm
  • Portugal vs Switzerland – Kick-off 7pm

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