Morocco on Wednesday night failed go get past defending champions France in the second semifinals match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar after they suffered a heartbreaking 2-0 defeat.
Morocco never backed down despite going 1-0 down in the first half through a Theo Hernandez goal and losing captain Romain Saiss to injury.
The Atlas Lions had a very great winning spirit and togetherness that never relented despite the France’s goal in the match.
The Moroccans had beaten big sides like Belgium, Spain and Portugal which made some football fans see the Wednesday match not an upset anymore.
Walid Regragui must have gone to the dressing room impressed by the doggedness of his players.
In deed, the Moroccans, whose best World Cup finish was a round of 16 appearance in the 1986 mundial, in Mexico, were not clinical enough, except for one close effort from a bicycle kick that Hugo Lloris kept out.
Another factor that played a part in the outcome of the match was that Morocco didn’t have a fully fit squad prior to the semifinal game against the French side.
Some players were not certain to start the match, even few minutes to kick-off as a result of fitness concerns.
The team, no doubt, have done well for themselves and for Africa, the outcome notwithstanding.
There is still a chance of possibly ending the tournament on a high with a third place finish against Croatia this Saturday.
The feat achieved by Morroco reverberates and they are the pride of Africa, North Africa region and the Arab world at large.
Other African representatives except Senegal who exited the tournament in the round of 16 stages, were all eliminated in the group stage.
It is worthy of note, however, that all African teams won at least one major match against a well established team.
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Izuchukwu Okosi is a Nigerian sports and entertainment journalist with two decades of experience in the media industry having begun his media journey in 2002 as an intern at Mundial Sports International (MSI) and Africa Independent Television (AIT), owners of Daar Communications Plc.
In October 2004, Okosi joined Complete Communications Limited, publishers of Complete Sports newspaper and Complete Football magazine as a reporter and later script writer for the Complete Sports studio.
He worked there for 13 years until October 2017.
Okosi also worked various times as Correspondent, Content creator and Editor at Sports Market International Magazine, Opera News, All Nigeria Soccer Media and Iconic Media Watch.
He also undertook freelance writing gigs for some local and international organizations.
Okosi is a member of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Association of Movie Producers (AMP), Association of Voiceover Artistes of Nigeria (AVOA), Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) and Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
He has been part of cast in some Nollywood movies and radio dramas including Blood Money 2, Scores To Settle, Dead End 2, Another Campus Tale and Battle Line.
Aside mainstream media and the entertainment industry, he has interests in scouting/unearthing of talents in the sports and creative sectors, exports business and property development.