The Moroccan national team wrote its name in the history books and sparked a new resounding surprise by qualifying for the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup, in an achievement that is the first of its kind for an Arab or African team, by defeating former European champions Portugal 1-0 in the quarter-finals in Qatar today, Saturday.
Morocco striker Youssef Al-Nusairi scored the only goal of the match with a close-range header after a cross from Yahya Atiyatallah in the 42nd minute.
Al-Nusairi rose higher than Portugal’s defender and goalkeeper Diogo Costa and scored with his head from close range, igniting the celebrations of the enthusiastic fans at Al-Thumama Stadium.
And after the wonderful goal, which Touched a record for superstar Cristiano Ronaldopublished by FIFA (fifa), the story of the Moroccan player, Youssef Al-Nusairi, and the monitoring of the journey of the Moroccan striker who became the national team champion.
En-Nesiri became the first Moroccan player to score in two editions of the World Cup, and the striker scored the only winning goal against Portugal in the quarter-finals of Qatar 2022.
Moroccan striker Youssef Al-Nusairi entered history twice during the World Cup in Qatar, the first when he scored against Canada and became the first Moroccan player to score in two different versions of the mother of championships, and the second when he led the Atlas Lions to the semi-finals with his goal against Portugal.
Al-Nusairi raised his goal tally in the history of the World Cup to three, and he still has at least two matches, the semi-final and final, or third-place determination, which means that the number can be increased, but that is only a stop in a journey that began years ago from the womb of suffering and will continue to the next. According to FIFA.
The player, born on the first of June 1997, did not grow up in one of the youth training centers in Europe, but rather is a purely local production in Morocco. He started his career in the streets and alleys of his city, Fez, to then join the Maghreb Club of Fez, and then, during the 2010-2011 season, to the Mohammed VI Football Academy. Specialized in discovering and developing talents and facilitating their transfer to Europe.
The Moroccan-French coach, Nasser Larquette, was the technical supervisor of the academy from its inauguration in 2009 until he left in 2014 to work again in France. During his stay there, he accompanied a number of players, most notably Hamza Mandil and Anas Nawader.
Departure to Europe
Al-Nusiri continued at the Mohamed Al-Fateh Academy until 2015, when he was caught by the scouts of the Spanish club Malaga and contracted with him on loan for one season, before the contract turned into a final transfer the following summer for 125,000 euros ($131,000). The player spent his first season with the reserve team, and in the 2016-2017 season he rose to the first team to work under coach Michel, the former Real Madrid star.
Al-Nusairi played 41 official matches with Malaga in all competitions, in which he scored only five goals, and he chose to leave him when he was relegated to the second division in Spain at the end of the 2017-2018 season.
The most important step
The young striker joined Leganes in the summer of 2018 for ten million euros ($10.5 million), becoming the most expensive deal in the club’s history as well as among his Moroccan compatriots.
The beginning was not good at all, but the second half of the first season witnessed a revolution in events, scoring 11 goals in 34 games.
In the second season, he played 18 matches in the Spanish League, during which he scored four goals and assisted two goals, and in January it was the end of the trip with Leganes.
playing with adults
Al-Nusiri’s remarkable brilliance, and his young age prompted Seville to invest in him, and the club paid 20 million euros ($21 million) for his services in January 2020.
The Moroccan player won the first title in his career when he was crowned at the end of the 2019-2020 season in the European League, and he contributed to the achievement by scoring two goals, and with them he scored four goals in 18 matches of the Spanish League.
The striker, who has great abilities inside the penalty area, whether on the ground or in the air, has played 122 matches so far with the Andalusian team in all tournaments, during which he scored 37 goals and assisted three goals.
Al-Nusairi previously talked about his wonderful career with the clubs, indicating that it did not pass without problems and obstacles, as he wrote on Instagram, “Achieving good things in your life is a beautiful thing, but achieving it bypassing all kinds of obstacles makes it more beautiful. Proud of my first beginnings and who I am Today, I will continue to work to make the people happy who have always believed in me. Do not let anything and no one discourage you on your way to a better future. Hard work, perseverance, humility and commitment to duties (…) There is no other way.”
Asad does not stop
Al-Nusairi began his career with the national team by appearing against Albania in a friendly under the leadership of coach Hervé Renard, after which he was invited to represent the Atlas Lions in the 2017 African Cup of Nations, during which he scored a goal against Togo.
Luck helped him to be with Morocco in the 2018 World Cup Russia after he was added to the list instead of defender, Badr Bannoun, and he took advantage of the opportunity well and scored a goal against Spain in the last match of the group stage.
Since the beginning of his international career, Al-Nusiri played 54 matches with Morocco, scoring 16 goals, the last of which was the most valuable because he gave Morocco the pass to the semi-finals of the World Cup in Qatar.
A new start
Al-Nusiri’s current season in Seville is not going well, as he scored only two goals in the Champions League, and this opened the door to discussion about the feasibility of his presence with the Atlas Lions in the Qatari wedding.
Coach Walid Al-Rakraki defended his striker a lot and confirmed that he is the main striker, and it seems that those words had a magic effect on the player, who regained much of his level and succeeded in scoring two goals during the tournament, which played a decisive role in achieving the semi-finals.
The national coach said, “Only coaches like me appreciate Al-Nusairi’s talent. He is a talent and a world-class player who implements what I ask of him. Therefore, he maintained his primary position not only with me, but also with the coaches who preceded me. He is a player whose services are indispensable in the squad.”
After his distinguished level in the tournament, the coach returned and praised him by saying, when asked about the brilliance of Sofiane Amrabat and Salim Amlah, “Every player has a role in the team. There are those who sacrifice a lot, and I would like here to talk about Al-Nusiri, who is making a wonderful effort and only the likes of me know his value.”
This distinguished level may be a new starting point for the 25-year-old, whether with his club Seville or any other club that may join him in the next winter transfer market.
Morocco, who was participating in the quarter-finals of the World Cup for the first time in its history, will play in the semi-finals against France, the defending champion.
In the other semi-final match, Argentina will play Croatia.