Morocco’s giant-killing days at an end – Jureidini
MOROCCO GET high praise from football analyst Clyde Jureidini for a World Cup performance that has taken the African nation past three teams ranked among FIFA’s top 10. However, he tips France to survive their World Cup semi-final today in Qatar...
MOROCCO GET high praise from football analyst Clyde Jureidini for a World Cup performance that has taken the African nation past three teams ranked among FIFA’s top 10. However, he tips France to survive their World Cup semi-final today in Qatar.
“Morocco, having taken out three of the top 10, would be looking to go for the fourth and fifth scalp, whoever comes. So Morocco is on a train now that has carried them the furthest ever, but it has also brought them into a new stratosphere that they have never been before and I think, in fairness, a more balanced, in-form unit in France, that is stronger than the units they have faced before,” said Jureidini.
The resolute Moroccans defeated world number two Belgium 2-0, number six Spain on penalties in the round of 16, and number nine Portugal 1-0, thanks to a towering header from centre forward En-Nesyri.
Describing France, Jureidini said, “this one has high ranking, high calibre, youth and experience; and they are champing at the bit. I think France will eclipse them in the end,” Jureidini said, with a 1-0 or 2-0 scoreline in mind.
“I would favour France at this stage because now, the Moroccan team has gone a little beyond their normal limits and it becomes more of a mental, an experience game,” the Harbour View stalwart said.
Notably, France have overcome a long injury list that has swallowed Ballon D’or winner Karim Benzema and 2018 World Cup winners Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante. However, according to the analyst, Antoine Griezmann and Aurélien Tchouaméni, who scored when France beat England 2-1 in the quarter-finals, have filled the midfield void.
“Tchouaméni, who scored that wonder goal from midfield, he’s the workhorse. He has taken over the role of what Kante did before,” Jureidini noted.
“Adrien Rabiot has the experience and the class to mesh with them and supports Griezmann, who adds the finishing touch with the penetration, breaking the lines and scoring. And their attacking trio is the best attacking trio, for my money, at the World Cup,” the Jamaican cited in praise of Kylian Mbappé, Olivier Giroud and Ousmanne Dembélé.
With Mbappé netting five times in Qatar, France have scored 11 goals so far in the tournament, compared to five for Morocco.
Injuries to Moroccan defenders, including captain Romain Seiss and Nayef Aguerd, are a worry for the Africans, but Jureidini isn’t writing them off.
“It could be better, but what they have shown is that they defend in a coordinated fashion. They rely on teamwork, and teamwork defensively with a sound goalkeeper, and a back five and a midfield four. You may beat one, but the legs and bodies in your way with your shot at goal are going to prevent you from penetrating, and that has served them well, along with sound goalkeeping.”
Accordingly, Morocco has only conceded one goal so far in Qatar, compared to the five going against France.
Rabiot is nursing a knock and was only able to complete a light training session yesterday.