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Morocco manager not focused on "anti-Mbappe plan"

FIFA World Cup: Morocco manager gives brilliant answer when asked how he will stop Mbappe in semifinal clash

December 13, 2022 By Ali M.
How will the Atlas Lions stop France's talisman attacker? Walid Regragui challenged the notion behind this question during his press conference for Wednesday's semifinal clash.

Kylian Mbappe is enjoying another brilliant FIFA World Cup campaign, scoring five goals so far this tournament, and is thus leading the Golden Boot race. As a result, much of the conversation has surrounded the PSG superstar and how opposing teams should go about stopping him.

Ahead of Les Bleus' showdown with England in the quarterfinals, one of the most-talked-about battles on the pitch was Kyle Walker versus the Ligue 1 sensation. The Manchester City defender held his own against the 2018 FIFA World Cup winner, yet Didier Deschamps' men emerged triumphant nonetheless, winning 2-1 to make the penultimate stage.

And for this reason, that very same question was posed to Walid Regragui, the head coach of the Moroccan national team. The North African nation, who have been the surprise package at Qatar 2022, will face the reigning champions in the semifinals and will need to overcome arguably the world's best national team in order to make the final.

But how does Regragui plan on thwarting France's talisman Kylian Mbappe? The 47-year-old gave a lovely answer in response to this topic, insisting that the Atlas Lions will not fall into the trap of solely focusing on the aforementioned 23-year-old superstar.

While all the pre-England vs. France discussions revolved around Mbappe, little focus was given to the threat of Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann, with the latter putting in a scintillating display against the Three Lions. Regragui wishes to avoid this and is instead plotting to halt Les Bleus, not any individual player, in their tracks.

"We won't make an anti-Mbappé plan because unfortunately, there isn't just him," the Moroccan boss said, as per Goal.

"When we know the level of Antoine Griezmann between the lines… but Hakimi is a big champion so I'm not worried.

"They [Hakimi and Mbappe] are two champions, who won't be giving away any gifts. Achraf is highly motivated to beat his friend."

Morocco have already made history by reaching this far, becoming the first African team to qualify for a FIFA World Cup semifinal. Victory on Wednesday, however, would be the most unforgettable achievement as that would take them to the ultimate game: the final at the Lusail Stadium.

However, despite boasting the best defense in the competition, conceding only one goal all tournament (which was an own goal), the odds don't favor Morocco. Nonetheless, expect Hakimi and Co. to give the French a tough battle.

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