Rabat – Morocco’s loss to Portugal yesterday sealed the Atlas Lions’ fate, ending their 2018 World Cup. After such an early exit, football legends Iker Casillas and Alessandro Del Piero have said the Atlas Lions “deserved better.”
Iker Casillas, who made his mark on the game as a Real Madrid and Spain goalkeeper, captaining the Spanish side that conquered Europe and the world from 2008 to 2012, said that it is unbelievable that a team of Morocco’s caliber could lose twice in a row and not even score once.
Morocco lost to Iran June 15 with a 95th minute own goal.
The Spaniard pointed out that the quality in Morocco’s squad and the impressive performances they delivered in their two appearances make it “unbelievable” that they could have such a disappointing world cup.
“I think it is unbelievable that Morocco did not secure even one point in its two matches. But it is even more unbelievable that they have not scored a single goal,” the former Real Madrid stopper said.
“But this is football!” he exclaimed.
For his part, former Italy and Juventus legend Alessandro Del Piero slightly criticized the Atlas Lions for lacking sharpness and effectiveness in their finishes. He said that it is a pity that a team could play as the Atlas Lions did and yet fail to claim even one point.
“Cruel World Cup for Morocco. First the Iran joke, then Cristiano punished you when you were least focused,” the Italian legend said. “Two solid matches, good organization, impressive football, but zero point. That’s a pity, you deserved better!”
Portugal’s Coach Fernando Santos echoed similar feelings during yesterday’s post-match press conference, saying that Morocco’s pressure and good organization damaged the confidence of Portuguese players.
While such opinions will not reverse Morocco’s standing in Group B, it is surely a consolation for many Moroccan fans that the Atlas Lions’ solid performance has won them the respect and admiration of international fans and observers.
However, such public acclaim for quality football and teamwork put an even stronger pressure on Moroccan players when facing Spain on Monday, June 25. With no qualification at stake in the Spain game, the Lions will still have to score to end the contest with honor.