The time for Belgium’s so-called “Golden Generation” to deliver a first major title is nearly up and the pressure heaped upon the shoulders of star men like Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Youri Tielemans will be immense, especially coming up against 2018 runners-up Croatia who should never be underestimated, especially with legendary playmaker Luka Modrić still running the show from midfield.
Canada’s qualification campaign was seriously impressive, and they will head to Qatar with nothing to lose and everything to prove while Morocco has enough in the tank to surprise even some of the best teams. The Africans can turn on the style when they want and although Belgium should win the group, it’s far from a foregone conclusion.
Everything you need to know about Morocco:
Coach: Walid Regragui
Highest finish: Quarterfinals (1998)
2018 finish: Round of 16
FOX Bet odds: +20000
What we’re excited to watch: Zakaria Aboukhlal has been impressive for Toulouse this season while there are also high hopes for Abde Ezzalzouli, the Barcelona midfielder who has tasted first-team action.
Achilles’ heel: There has been managerial upheaval with Vahid Halilhodžić fired in August despite securing World Cup qualification. Replacement Walid Regragui, untested at this level but rated back home, remains a gamble, but a recent 2-0 win over Chile has boosted hopes of a strong showing in Qatar.
What success looks like: Last 16
X Factor: Hakim Ziyech’s return to international action is huge for Regragui and his squad. Halilhodžić left Ziyech out last year after an alleged dispute and the midfielder was frozen out.
Three things you need to know about Morocco
Alexi Lalas provides three things you need to know about Morocco ahead of the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup.
Goalkeepers: Yassine Bono, Munir, Ahmed Reda Tagnaouti
Defenders: Achraf Hakimi, Romain Saiss, Noussair Mazraoui, Nayef Aguerd, Achraf Dari, Jawad El-Yamiq, Yahia Attiat-Allal, Badr Benoun
Midfielders: Sofyan Amrabat, Selim Amallah, Abdelhamid Sabiri, Azzedine Ounahi, Bilel El Khanouss, Yahya Jabrane
Forwards: Hakim Ziyech, Youssef El-Nesri, Sofiane Boufal, Ez Abde, Amine Harit, Zakaria Aboukhlal, Ilias Chair, Walid Cheddira, Abderazzak Hamdallah
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