Why is Morocco shortened to MAR? World Cup 2022 squad guide


It has been 24 long years since Morocco last tasted victory in a World Cup finals match: France 1998 on that occasion, with only a single point claimed in Russia four years ago – the first time they had reached the tournament since. Now, though, it’s back-to-back qualifications and every reason to believe they can achieve at least some success in Qatar with a strong-looking squad.

Results have been pretty much spot-on for the Atlas Lions since well before the pandemic; they didn’t lose a game in 90 minutes between October 2019 and a friendly in June of this year, with their only defeats in that period being a penalty shootout loss in the Arab Cup and another to Egypt in extra time at the Afcon in January.

Wins over South Africa and Chile are confidence-boosting, though they were hammered by USA too – it’s clear Morocco have at least a team who can compete on their day for a positive result but they need to be close to at their best for it to happen. European-based stars from Sevilla, Bayern Munich, Besiktas, Maseille, Chelsea and PSG show they have genuine top talents available to them but there’s still difficulties for head coach Walid Regragui to overcome.

He was only appointed in August after Vahid Halilhodzic was sacked due to “differences…on the best way to prepare the national team”, meaning just a few months for the new boss to get the team accustomed to his style and selections – which now include Hakim Ziyech again, after he ruled out playing further for Halilhodzic.

Morocco will be abreviated to MAR for the World Cup scoreboard because it’s known as Maroc in French.

Here is everything you need to know:

Walid Regragui, Morocco’s head coach

(Getty Images)

Group fixtures (all times GMT)

Wednesday 23 November: Morocco vs Croatia – 10:00

Sunday 27 November: Belgium vs Morocco – 13:00

Thursday 1 December: Canada vs Morocco – 15:00

Confirmed squad

Goalkeepers: Yassine Bounou (Sevilla), Munir Mohamedi (Al Wehda), Ahmed Reda Tagnaouti (Wydad AC)

Defenders: Achraf Hakimi (PSG), Noussair Mazraoui (Bayern Munich), Roman Saiss (Besiktas), Nayef Aguerd (West Ham), Badr Benoun (Qatar SC) Jawad El Yamiq (Real Valladolid), Achraf Dari (Brest), Yahia Attiyat Allah (Wydad AC)

Midfielders: Sofyan Amrabat (Fiorentina), Amine Harit (Marseille), Azzedine Ounahi (Angers), Ilias Chair (QPR), Selim Amallah (Standard Liege), Yahya Jabrane (Wydad AC), Abdelhamid Sabiri (Sampdoria), Bilal El Khannous (Genk)

Forwards: Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea), Youssef En-Nesyri (Sevilla), Abderrazak Hamdallah (Al-Ittihad), Abde Ezzalzouli (Osasuna), Sofiane Boufal (Angers), Zakaria Aboukhlal (Toulouse), Walid Cheddira (Bari)

Ones to watch

Abde Ezzalzouli of Morocco

(Getty Images)

Star – Achraf Hakimi: One of the European game’s most explosive and effective full-backs is PSG’s Hakimi; equally comfortable on both sides of defence, he’s a key part of the build-up play and an attacking outlet for Morocco. Naturally, he’ll have to be on top of game defensively too, but leaving him space to race into down the channel guarantees the team great delivery in the final third.

Breakout talent – Abde Ezzalzouli: If the new manager is brave (or desperate), this incredible prospect could start the odd game. More likely he might be used as a major impact option off the bench. His close control and ridiculously good dribbling skills make him so hard for tiring defences to stop, but the on-loan Barcelona 20-year-old is still prone to racing down cul-de-sacs and forgetting to actually produce a cross or pass at the end of his runs at present. An eye-catching match-changer, but still a bit hit-or-miss – he could turn a match or two on its head at these finals though.



Morocco will feel they have a reasonable shout at causing an upset and getting through the group stage, but they’ll have to be all-in on getting a positive result in their first game for that. Keep themselves alive until the final round of games when they face Canada and anything could happen – but even just a single victory would represent a major and significant step forward, the biggest one in a generation. Knocked out in the group stage.

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