Morocco’s World Cup odyssey has changed what it means to be the underdog | Nick Ames

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Atlas Lions’ run to the semi-finals in Qatar has removed mental barriers and showed what is possible for traditional outsiders

“Dreaming is free but to do it is different.” Romain Saïss could hardly have put it better. Morocco have written themselves, a continent and a region into football folklore and the impact could be priceless. Every underdog, which in practice also means every African country, arrives at a World Cup with big hopes and the occasional bold proclamation but the Atlas Lions have delivered in a way none of them has been able to match.

Before the tournament Walid Regragui, their manager, had warned: “One should not have too many expectations about this team.” Saïss, the captain and former Wolves defender, had suggested himself that a last‑16 place should be their target. Morocco were a low-key entrant to Qatar 2022 and never let themselves get carried away. The dream has increased in scope with every hurdle jumped; its rewards are already priceless.

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Written by Nick Ames in Doha
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/football/2022/dec/11/moroccos-world-cup-odyssey-has-changed-what-it-means-to-be-the-underdog under the title “Morocco’s World Cup odyssey has changed what it means to be the underdog | Nick Ames”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.