Third-place match ‘stupid and the worst game you can play’

Moroccan national team coach Walid Regragui admitted that playing the third-place match for the Qatar 2022 World Cup against Croatia on Saturday was “the worst match we could play” because the ambition was to be in the final.

Morocco was hoping to crown its historic career in the World Cup in Qatar by reaching the final, but the adventure ended at the round of four, losing to France, the defending champion, 0-2.

As always, coaches find it difficult to motivate their players to play a game that is considered a “consolation prize”, but Regragui will try to “beautify” the third place to motivate his players.

Rekragui said on the eve of the scheduled meeting at Khalifa Stadium in a replay of the group stage match that ended in a goalless draw against Luka Mordic and his comrades: I think it is the worst match we can play. But we are still excited to go through it despite the feeling of disappointment.

He continued: Of course, we would have preferred to be in the final, but there is the third place that we have to play for. We want to finish (the championship) on the podium.

And he admitted, “It will be difficult because of fatigue, and there is also the mental barrier that we must overcome. We know that Croatia also wants to finish (the tournament) third.”

When asked if there was any third-place match in the history of the World Cup stuck in his mind, Regragui replied: Quite frankly, this ranking meeting bothers me a bit. It is always complicated, whether it is for us or Croatia, after the disappointment of losing the semi-final you have to play a match after two days… It is a stupid match if we are third or fourth… I would say the same about second place if we were in The final because we want to be the winners.

And although they would certainly have preferred to play in the final, as the Croats are, the Moroccan players will not “need motivation” to fight in Saturday’s meeting, according to Regragui: because we are in the World Cup and we represent Morocco. Every match is important, even the friendly, for our fans.

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