Morocco’s historic showing at the Fifa World cup ended on Saturday with a defeat to Croatia.
The north-African nation placed fourth following the defeat, losing by 2-1 to the European side.
Morocco became the first African country to reach the semi-final stage of the competition when they beat Portugal but lost to France while attempting to go even further.
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Walid Regragui, the coach of Morocco told reporters his side proved that they can go ‘toe-to-toe’ with the world’s top sides.
He said his team will come back stronger with the aim of winning the World Cup one day.
“Before the tournament we were given 0.01 per cent chance of doing this, and we got to the last four. We are now one of the top four teams in the world, and if you had told me that before the tournament I would have taken it. I would not have changed anything.”
Morocco beat Belgium, Spain and Portugal en route to the semi-finals. After the defeat to Croatia Regragui said “Croatia are now one of the top 3 sides in the world, and they were slightly stronger than us, as were France, which is no disgrace. We’ve had to catch up and have spent the last 10 years trying to do that.”
“These games are decided on small details and my players gave everything. I am proud of them. We’ve gone further than anyone expected,” he added.
Asked if this is the best generation of African players, he said “It is hard when Africa has only five teams in the World Cup, but next time we will have nine. I said to my players in the dressing room ‘if you want to go down in history, you have to win the African Cup of Nations.”
“If you want to be kings of the world, you have to first become kings of your continent.’ And he signed off to applause when he said: ‘Thank you all, we have had a great time here – long live Africa,” he added.