Morocco coach tells team to seize chance to win World Cup ‘booby prize’



“We know that Croatia also want to finish in third place, we played them in our opening game so that will be nice. It will be no walk in the park physically, they have had one more rest day.

“We need to clear our heads a little but, when you come out of a semi-final, the first time we’ve ever been in one, emotions were running high and it was quite difficult. However, my players still have that appetite they want to finish well and they know they still have one game to play with all to play for.

“Finishing third is not the same as finishing fourth and we want to take a medal home with us.”

Regragui also backed the Moroccan Football Association’s official complaint to Fifa after they were not awarded a penalty during the semi-final, instead seeing Sofiane Boufal booked when he appeared to be fouled by Theo Hernandez.

“All is fair in love and war, our FA wanted to put forward the complaint, I feel they were right in doing so but that doesn’t change anything for us,” he said.

“We should have had a penalty and Sofiane should not have had that yellow card. It is not the end of the road for us, we are still playing for the third place, even the best nations would be playing for third place.

“After the game we will think about what the future has in store. We will have a completely different status following the World Cup.

“I don’t really need to motivate my team, we are at the World Cup representing Morocco. We even want to win friendlies so the objective is to get that third place, we want to up our Fifa ranking. If we finish third in a World Cup, we will really hike it up.

“We want to show what we are made of and also pave the way for the future of Moroccan football.”

Regragui confirmed skipper Romain Saiss will not be fit for the final, having risked his captain at just “60-70 per-cent” in the semi-final, a decision which backfired when he limped off after just 20 minutes.

“We lost our captain Romain Saiss during the game, we took a risk but it was a risk worth taking,” added Regragui.

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“We wanted to go out to battle with him leading the battalion. We have another couple of injured players but we will see how it goes.

“We really, really pushed our players to their limits but they still want to go out tomorrow and play again but we are going to be taking risk again. Romain Saiss is out – he has been ruled out from this third-place game.”

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