Rabat – The Moroccan national team will not be a tourist in Moscow. The team has talents in its squad and will try to take all its chances to make Russia 2018 a successful campaign. This is, in substance, the spirit of a recent interview that the Atlas Lions’ coach Hervé Renard had with the French outlet labeautedufootball.fr.
“No, there is no stress, we are proud to be part of the qualified squads, and can’t wait to start the tournament, although we know it won’t be an easy one”, Renard said when asked about the squad’s morale as the momentous event draws near.
Moroccan squad is ambitious and has great expectations, Renard commented upon being asked if, considering the intensity and high caliber in Morocco’s group, elimination in the group phase would be a disappointment.
“I am a competitor, and being eliminated in the first round is surely a disappointment. But other than words, we have to show an intersecting face on the D-Day. An interesting face for the Moroccan squad”, Renard said.
Renard explained in the interview that despite the quality in the Spanish and Portuguese squads, Iran too is a serious contender to him as “they will fight tooth and nail”.
He however stressed that the two games against Spain—a team he said has a fascinating football philosophy—and Portugal—winner of the most recent European Championship—are the matches in which his squad will give its utmost. “These will be matches where you have to give 100%”, he said.
Renard said that, in his career as a coach, his teams have always been built around team spirit and tactical discipline, especially, he stressed, “when the opposing squad dominates the game”.
“I like the game and I’d love to have ball possession, but sometimes the opponents leave you no choice. When, for example, you are Sochaux playing PSG, you know that Paris won’t be leaving you the ball. Sometimes you have to adapt to the tactical management of the contending squad and exploit their mistakes”, Renard explained, with the suggestion that the Atlas Lions are counting on tactical discipline and lethal counterattacks against the offensive prowess of Group B’s European giants.
Commenting on Morocco’s historic CHAN 2018 triumph, Renard lauded the local talents, adding that some of them will be called upon for the Atlas Lions’ next friendly fixture in March.
Hervé Renard rose to prominence as a connoisseur of African football and a great manager when his energetic and enthusiasm-filled managing philosophy allowed Zambia and Ivory Coast to win the CAN (African Cup of Nations), in 2012 and 2015 respectively.
As Morocco prepares to take on two world-class squads in Group B in Russia this summer, all eyes are expectantly set on Renard and his boys. “Please, surprise us and make us forget the pain, the unexpected blow of France 98. Can you please sustain, however fleetingly, the Abidjan euphoria?” these hesitant looks seem to suggest.