Morocco return to the World Cup after 20 years

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Morocco returns to the 2018 World Cup in Russia for the first time after 20 years, and they will be eyeing to surpass their Last 16 record that was set in 1986 in Mexico.

Morocco will battle it out in the Group B, which includes the likes of Iran, Portugal and Spain.

The 1976 African champions will kick start their Group B campaign in Russia with a clash against Iran in St Petersburg on June 15.

On their second match, they will face reigning European champions Portugal on June 20 in Moscow before a final Group clash against 2010 World Cup winners Spain in Kaliningrad on June 25.

In the past, the North Africans topped a group involving Portugal, when they finished above England and Poland in the 1986 World Cup. In the Last 16, West Germany dumped them out the competition by 1-0.

In 1994, the Atlas Lions lost all matches, and in France four years later they tried to redeem themselves by collecting four points following a win and a 2-all draw against Norway and 3-0 victory over Scotland, and 3-0 lost to Brazil.

Morocco, guided by Frenchman, Herve Renard completed their qualifying campaign with maximum points and no goals conceded.

The Atlas Lions will be mainly relying on their star player, Achraf Hakimi who currently plies his trade in Spain playing for Real Madrid. Ajax Amsterdam’s midfielder, Hakim Ziyech is another player to watch in this World Cup.

Renard charges will look to build a strong team from their recent fine form. In preparations for the World Cup, the Arab nation defeated Serbia by 2-1 which serves as a major boost heading to Russia.

Ayoub el Kaabi, who scored nine goals to help Morocco clinch the Chan tournament in February in 2018, is also a key player for Atlas Lions.

Renard is expected to also include local coaches who won Chan.