Coach Regragui admits injuries hurt Morocco’s World Cup semifinal chances

Morocco coach Walid Regragui was a proud man after a 2-0 defeat to France in the semifinals ended his side’s hopes of a first ever World Cup final for an African nation and he also lamented the injury misfortune that dogged his team in the game.

Regragui had named Romain Saiss and Naif Aguerd in his starting line-up, only for Saiss to leave the pitch after just 20 minutes, while Aguard was forced to withdraw after his muscle problem returned in the pre-game warmup.

“We lost Aguerd in the warm-up, Saiss and then (Noussair) Mazraoui at half-time. It was a bit too much for us but those who returned gave their all,” he said after the game.

The coach admitted that “against a team like France, the slightest mistake is expensive, and we can’t go to the final when we waste as many chances as we had in the first half.

“We were better in the second half, but we didn’t score, and the second goal (in the 79th minute) kills us,” said Regragui.

Morocco will now play Croatia in the third and fourth place play-off and he admitted he would give a chance to players who have not been regulars in his side.

“It’s going to be hard mentally, we’re going to give playing time to those who have played less,” commented the coach.

Regragui insisted Morocco “wanted” third place, but said “most important thing is to have performed well, to have shown that football in Morocco exists and that we have great supporters.” ■

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