Morocco national football team
The Morocco national football team, nicknamed Les Lions de l'Atlas or Atlas Lions,
; Italian: Nazionale di calcio del Marocco) represents the Kingdom of Morocco in international men's football and it is controlled by the Royal Moroccan Football Federation, also known as FRMF, or in Fédération Royale Marocaine de football. the governing body for football in Morocco, The team represents both FIFA and Confederation of African Football. He was considered one of the best African teams after he ranked 10th in the FIFA World rankings in April 1998, and he is also the only African team to have been at the top of the African teams ranking for three consecutive years from 1997 to 1999. Worldwide, he participated 5 times in the FIFA World Cup The best result reached the round of 16 in 1986 as the first African and Arab national team to reach this role, and then lost to Germany 1-0. The team has qualified for Five FIFA World Cup. the Moroccan national team he was ranked in the FIFA World Rankings in 22 April 1998 at the top tenth as the best national team in the world, becoming the first team in the history of football in Africa and the Arab World and Middle East to achieve this honors and global achievement in the history of FIFA.
Winners of the African Nations Cup in 1976, they were the first African team to win a group at the World Cup, which they did in 1986, finishing ahead of Portugal, Poland, and England. They were also the first African team to make it to the second round, barely losing to eventual runners-up West Germany 1–0 in 1986.
Pre-independence periodThe selection of Morocco was created in 1928 and played its first game on 22 December of that year against the B team of France, from which it was defeated by 2–1. This team, formed by the best footballers of the LMFA or the Moroccan Football League, was active in friendly matches against other North African selections such as those of the Football League of Algeria, the Football League of Oran, the Football League of Costantinia and the Tunisia Football League. These associations of settler clubs and local footballers, in addition to having their own championship, clashed with each other in a tournament that Morocco won several times, as in 1948–1949.
The LMFA also faced some club teams such as NK Lokomotiva Zagreb in January 1950, as well as France A and France B. Against France A the LMFA made a 1–1 draw in Casablanca in 1941.
On 9 September 1954, an earthquake struck the Algerian region of Orléansville and caused the destruction of the city and the death of over 1,400 people. On 7 October 1954, the French Football Association and the Maghreb inhabitants organized a charity match to raise funds for the families of the victims of the catastrophic event. In the match a selection of Moroccans, Algerians and Tunisians challenged the national team of France at the Paris Princes Park. Led by star Larbi Benbarek, the Maghreb selection managed to win by 3–2, a month before the Toissant rouge attacks made in November 1954 by the Algerian National Liberation Front which marked the beginning of the Algerian war.
The beginnings of Morocco (1955–1963)In 1955, the Royal Moroccan Football Federation was established, at the end of the French protectorate of Morocco, which had lasted since 1912.
On 19 October 1957, at the 2nd edition of the Pan Arab Games in Lebanon, Morocco made its debut as the national of an independent country against Iraq, at the Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium, and drew 3–3. In the tournament the Moroccan team obtained the first victory of its history against Libya, with the result of 5–1, to then beat Tunisia 3–1 and gain access to the semifinal. Morocco finished in first place the group 1 of the competition, in which the path of the North African formation ended just in the semifinals, against Syria, on 26 October 1957, despite the 1–1 draw, it was the Syrians who passed the round and qualified for the final.
From 1957 to 1958, Morocco held numerous friendly meetings against the National Liberation Front team, the representative of Algeria before its independence in 1958. In 1959, they took part for the first time in an international competition, the preliminary rounds of the Rome Olympics 1960. He finished second in a group of three teams, behind Tunisia, but only for an unfavorable goal difference. In the same year the football federation of Morocco joined the FIFA.
In 1960, Morocco made their debut in the 1962 FIFA World Cup qualification, to be held in Chile. Inserted in group 2 of the African qualifications, it saw itself again against Tunisia. After two games ended with a win per side, on 22 January 1961 a play-off match was played in Palermo, which ended in a tie. Morocco proceeded with the winning of a coin toss. Having defeated Ghana in the CAF Final Round, the Moroccan players gained access to the last qualifying round, against Spain, which eliminated Morocco with two victories.
In 1961, Morocco faced for the first time two European national teams, Yugoslavia and East Germany, and played the Pan-Arab Games in Casablanca, participating in the group of six teams and winning it. On 6 September 1961, Morocco won the largest victory in his history against Saudi Arabia. They also had two wins against a European team, an unprecedented event, beating East Germany 2–1 and 2–0.
In 1963, the Moroccan team came close to qualifying for the African Cup. In the decisive play-off against Tunisia, they were defeated 4–1 in Tunis and won 4–2 at home, they were therefore eliminated. At the Mediterranean Games in Naples 1963, they finished fourth after a 2–1 defeat in the final for third place against Spain's reserve team.
First appearances in international competitions (1963–1976)Morocco participated for the first time in the final phase of an international competition at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Having obtained the qualification under the leadership of the selector, the Moroccans were included in a group of three teams due to the renunciation of North Korea and they recorded two consecutive defeats, against Hungary and Yugoslavia.
In 1966, the Moroccan Football Association joined the Confederation of African Football and was able to participate in the competitions organized by the CAF.
At the Mediterranean Games in Tunis 1967, the Moroccans were eliminated in the first round, finishing fourth in the group with Italy, France and Algeria.
Qualifying for the 1968 Olympics, Morocco refused to play against Israel, and eventually were replaced by Ghana.
In the two-year period 1968–1969, the team was engaged in qualifying for the Mexican World Championship in 1970. Their debut was positive, they eliminated Senegal and Tunisia after a draw, which at the time was necessary after three draws. In the final round of the preliminaries, against Sudan and Nigeria, Morocco obtained five points, finishing ahead of Nigeria and qualifying for the first time for the final round of a world championship. Shortly after, Morocco lost the decisive play-off against Algeria to enter the final stage of the 1970 Africa Cup of Nations.
Morocco thus became the first African national team to qualify for a world championship after having played in an elimination tournament. The Moroccan team, coached by the Yugoslav Blagoje Vidinić, consisted exclusively of players in the Moroccan league, including Driss Bamous and Ahmed Faras.
On 3 June 1970, against West Germany in front of 12,942 spectators, Morocco surprisingly opened the scoring with a goal in the twenty-first game of Houmane Jarir. In the second half, however, the West Germans scored with Uwe Seeler and Gerd Müller and won by 2–1. The Lions of the Atlas then played against Peru in front of 13,537 spectators. This time the Moroccans conceded three goals in ten minutes to lose 3–0. On 11 June 1970, the eliminated Moroccans drew with Bulgaria 1–1, with a comeback goal in the sixtieth game of Maouhoub Ghazouani. It was the first point obtained by an African national team at the World Cup.
In the 1972 Africa Cup of Nations qualification, the Lions of the Atlas ousted Algeria, then they faced Egypt, beating them 3–0 in the first leg and suffering a 3–2 defeat on the way back, yet they qualified for the first time for the final phase of the continental tournament. In the group stage, they had three 1–1 draws against Congo, Sudan and Zaire and were eliminated in the first round. All three Moroccan goals brought the signature of Ahmed Faras.
Qualifying for the 1972 Olympics with two wins and two draws, Morocco debuted in Group A with a white-neat draw 0–0 with the United States, then lost 3–0 against West Germany and defeated Malaysia 6–0 with an Ahmed Faras hat-trick, qualifying for the second round. Due to defeats against USSR, Denmark and Poland, they were then eliminated.
In the 1974 world championship qualifiers, Morocco passed three CAF qualifying rounds, entering the final round with Zambia and Zaire. Badly beaten 4–0 at home by Zaire, who then won two consecutive matches against Zambia, the Moroccans went to Zaire for the return match and lost there 3–0, conceding three goals in the second half, after Faras leaving the field due to injury. Morocco filed an appeal, trying to get the match to play again, and did not appear at the final challenge against Zambia. Protesting against FIFA in protest, he also decided not to take part in the 1974 Africa Cup of Nations.
In 1974, Morocco played only two games, both against Algeria, achieving a 2–0 win and a 0–0 draw. After 1974, Morocco resumed its regular FIFA and CAF competitions. They managed to get the qualification for the 1976 Africa Cup of Nations by eliminating Ghana at the last round, but failed to qualify for the 1976 Olympics, as eliminated by Nigeria.
Between successes and defeats (1976–1986)Morocco, coached by the Romanian Virgil Mărdărescu and captained by Ahmed Faras, took the continental throne, finishing in first place the final round of the 1976 African Cup of Nations, in his second participation in the final phase of the competition.
The final phase, in Ethiopia, foresaw a novelty, the first two classified of each of the two groups of four teams would have met in a final round from four teams, contending the title of Champion of Africa. The elimination rounds were cancelled, and replaced by a mini-championship. On 29 February 1976, the tournament started with the first matches of group A, but Morocco, entered in group B, started on 1 March 1976. Inserted in a group with Sudan, Zaire and Nigeria, Mărdărescu's team equalized 2–2 with Sudan, then, thanks to Abdel Ali Zahraoui's goal on the eightieth minute of play, they beat Zaire. In the last game they won a comeback 3–1 against Nigeria, obtaining so the first place in the group and qualifying for the final round together with the Nigerians, second in the standings in the group B. The final round put Morocco against Egypt. The Moroccans, had an advantage with a goal by Faras, suffered a draw, but took the lead two minutes before the end of the match again with Zahraoui and won 2–1. The next match against the Nigerians ended with a success, thanks to two goals from Ahmed Faras and scored in the last eight minutes of play to overturn the provisional opponent advantage. The final match, against Guinea, would have decided the African Champion team. On 14 March 1976, in Addis Ababa, the Guineans, aimed to victory, took the lead in the first half, but four minutes to the end of the match scored the goal of the final draw, which gave to Morocco the first cup of its history.
Morocco then failed to qualify for the 1974 FIFA World Cup, the 1978 FIFA World Cup and the 1982 FIFA World Cup. At the 1978 Africa Cup of Nations, they were eliminated in the first round, while at the 1980 Africa Cup of Nations they won the third place, beating in the consolation final Egypt 2–0. They then won the 1983 Mediterranean Games, played at home, thanks to a 3–0 success in the final against Turkey B.
Morocco did not qualify for either the 1982 Africa Cup of Nations or that of 1984 Africa Cup of Nations. At the 1986 Africa Cup of Nations, they finished fourth, beaten 3–2 in the consolation final by the Ivory Coast.
Golden Generation (1986–2000)The subsequent participation in the 1986 FIFA World Cup which took place in Mexico. Morocco, coached by the Brazilian José Faria, had a valid team at their disposal, with Aziz Bouderbala, Salahdine Hmied, Merry Krimau and Mohamed Timoumi.
In Mexico, Morocco surprisingly won a group with Portugal, England and Poland, thanks to two draws against the English and Polish teams and a 3–1 win against the Portuguese. However, they were narrowly eliminated by West Germany in the first knockout round, thanks to a goal from Lothar Matthäus one minute from the end of regulation time. Morocco became the first African and Arab national team to have passed the first round of a world championship.
Two years later, the Moroccan team presented itself at the 1988 African Cup of Nations as a host country with high expectations. After winning the first round, they were eliminated in the semifinals by Cameroon and finished in fourth place after losing the consolation final against Algeria.
Failure to qualify for the 1990 FIFA World Cup opened a period of crisis. In the 1992 African Cup of Nations, the team was eliminated in the first round. They did not participate, then, either in the 1994 Africa Cup or in the 1996 African Cup.
At the end of the millennium, the North African team took part in two consecutive world championships: in the United States in 1994 and in France in 1998. On both occasions they were eliminated in the first round, although in the second case it came close to qualifying.
In 1994, Morocco were knocked out after three defeats against Belgium, Saudi Arabia and Netherlands, while in 1998 they left in a controversial way. Having drawn in the first match with Norway 2–2 and lost 3–0 against Brazil, Morocco coached by the French Henri Michel clearly beat the Scotland in Saint-Étienne, but by the time the qualifying seemed to have been achieved, they were overtaken in the standings by Norway, who was incredibly strong on Brazil scoring the decisive goal in the last minutes of the game, thanks to a much discussed penalty.
At the 1998 Africa Cup of Nations, after winning their group, Morocco were defeated and eliminated from South Africa. They failed to qualify for the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
Difficult years (2006–2016)In 2012, the national team won the 2012 Arab Nations Cup, a tournament reserved for Arab national teams with a team made up only of players playing in the Moroccan championship.
Ascent (2016–Present)The national team won the championship of African nations in 2018, a tournament reserved for African national teams with a team formed only by players playing in the Moroccan championship. Back to participate in the final phase of a World Cup after 20 years, in 2018 FIFA World Cup, Morocco went out in the first round, after two 0–1 defeats against Iran and Portugal. In the last match against Spain they took the lead 2–1 but was unable to keep it, and drew 2–2, ultimately managed to eliminate Iran as well. Morocco entered the 2019 AFCON with high confidence, having played the previous World Cup. However, in spite of three straight group stage wins, Morocco was shockingly knocked out by less known Benin in the round of sixteen.
Results and fixturesThe following is a list of match results in the last 12 months, as well as any future matches that have been scheduled.
Current team status
2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualification
Current squadThe following players were called up for the Africa Cup of Nations qualification matches against Mauritania and Burundi on 15 and 19 November 2019.
Caps and goals are correct as of 19 November 2019, after the match against Mauritania.
Recent call-upsThe following players have been called up for the team in the last 12 months.
RET Player retired from internationals
SUS Player is suspended
INJ Did not make it to the current squad due to injury
DEC Player declined the call-up to the squad
PRE Preliminary squad / standby
Previous squads;African Cup of Nations squads:
- CAN 1972 squad
- CAN 1976 squad
- CAN 1978 squad
- CAN 1980 squad
- CAN 1986 squad
- CAN 1988 squad
- CAN 1992 squad
- CAN 1998 squad
- CAN 2000 squad
- CAN 2002 squad
- CAN 2004 squad
- CAN 2006 squad
- CAN 2008 squad
- CAN 2012 squad
- CAN 2013 squad
- CAN 2017 squad
- CAN 2019 squad
- 1970 FIFA World Cup squad
- 1986 FIFA World Cup squad
- 1994 FIFA World Cup squad
- 1998 FIFA World Cup squad
- 2018 FIFA World Cup squad
Home stadiumThe Moroccan National team traditionally used the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat and the Stade Mohamed V in Casablanca as their main stadiums, but they've recently started using the new Stade de Marrakech in Marrakech, Stade Adrar in Agadir, Stade Ibn Batouta in Tangier and Fez Stadium in Fez.
FIFA World CupMorocco's national football team has participated five times in the FIFA World Cup. Their best performance was the 1986 edition when they advanced to the second round, being the first African nation to do so. In 1998, the team narrowly missed repeating the same achievement.
- Under-23 tournament since 1992.
African Nations Championship
Olympic games record
- Football at the Summer Olympics has been an under-23 tournament since the 1992 edition.
- Africa Cup of Nations
- Arab Nations Cup
- African Nations Championship
- African National Team of the Year
Youth and Olympic teams
- Pan Arab Games: 1961, 1985
- Mediterranean Games: 1983, 2013
- Jeux de la Francophonie: 2001, 2017
- Islamic Solidarity Games: 2013
- Africa U-20 Cup of Nations: 1997
- Arab Cup U-20: 2011
- UNAF U-20 Tournament: 2015
- UNAF U-17 Tournament: 2007, 2011, 2018
[FIFA World Rankings] History