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No special plan to contain Mbappé, says Morocco coach


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Morocco has no specific plans to deal with Kylian Mbappé in the semi-final of the Qatar Cup this Wednesday (14). For coach Walid Regragui, France offer too many individual threats for his team to focus on just one.

Mbappé, who reached the semi-finals as the tournament’s top scorer with five goals, received special attention from England in the quarter-finals and was largely ineffective, although the French won the game.

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Morocco has no similar plans, Regragui said in an interview on the eve of the clash at Al Bayt stadium. “I’m not going to try to establish any specific tactical plan to fight Kylian,” he said.

“France have other good players too. Griezmann is at the top of his game and Dembelé is also a perfect complement to Mbappé on the other wing.”

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“If we only focus on Mbappé,” Regragui continued, “that will be a mistake. They are world champions, with world-class players. We need to focus on what we can do to cause problems for France.”

Mbappé, on the left wing of the attack, will face Paris Saint Germain teammate and friend Achraf Hakimi.

“Achraf knows Mbappé better than I do and trains with him on a daily basis, so he’s better placed than I am to know how to deal with Kylian. Hakimi is one of the best players in the world, so it’s going to be a great duel between the two.” said Regragui.

Morocco go into the semi-final looking to add France to an impressive list of positive Cup results, but need to get their players back in shape in time after the effort put in in their five games in Qatar.

The African team is still struggling with “a lot of injuries”, the coach said, but the players are recovering. There is greater concern with the defensive duo, formed by Saiss and Aguerd.

“We have an excellent medical team and they have brought us good news. But we will have to wait until the last minute to define the team”, stated Regragui.

There would also be no changes to the tactical approach against the French, said the Moroccan coach, dismissing criticism of the strong defensive blocking and counter-attacking strategy. “What good is 70% possession if you only get a few shots on goal?” asked Regragui.

“Everyone is working, everyone is doing their best in every way and we play collectively, always with soul, which for me is everything in football.”

Morocco is the first African and Arab country to reach the semifinals of a World Cup and wants to take it one step further.

“When you reach the World Cup semi-finals and you’re not hungry, there’s a problem. Not everyone is lucky to play at this stage of the tournament. The best team here, Brazil, has already been knocked out,” said Regragui.

“We are a very ambitious team and we are hungry. I don’t know if it will be enough… it could be. We are confident and determined to rewrite the history books.”

“I know we’re not the favorites, but we’re confident. You can say I’m angry, but I think a little madness is good,” added the Morocco coach.

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