Walid Regragui described his team as ‘Rocky of this World Cup’ after Morocco became the first African and Arab country to reach the last four with a stunning 1-0 upset of Portugal, the latest scalp of their reputation-shredding run in Qatar that has broken new ground for the sport outside Europe and South America.
“We are now becoming the team that everyone loves in this World Cup because we are showing that even if you don’t have as much talent and money then you can succeed,” said Regragui.
“We have made our people and our continent so happy and proud. When you watch Rocky, you want to support Rocky Balboa and I think we are the Rocky of this World Cup. I think now the world is with Morocco.”
Youssef En-Nesyri’s towering first-half header earned them the victory which sparked euphoric scenes at the Al Thumama Stadium and left them one game away from the World Cup final.
“I think it’s the first time that I’ve cried at the end of a match,” the manager said.
“I try to control my emotions because I need to show my players that I’m mentally strong. But sometimes it’s just too much and when you get to the semi-finals of a World Cup … the emotions come pouring out. I would be lying if I said I thought we could get to the semi-finals.”
Morocco will take on defending champions France in the semifinals.