STORY CONTINUES BELOW THESE SALTWIRE VIDEOS
(Reuters) – World Cup semi-finalists Morocco, who turned the primary Arab workforce to beat Brazil final month, ought to deal with successful the Africa Cup of Nations subsequent yr earlier than dreaming of glory on the 2026 World Cup, winger Sofiane Boufal mentioned.
Morocco had been the shock story on the World Cup in Qatar final yr, beating Belgium, Spain and Portugal on the best way to the semi-finals prompting coach Walid Regragui to speak up his want of successful the 2026 version.
That dream turned greater after a 2-1 win over five-times world champions Brazil in a pleasant match in Tangier final month.
Solely European and South American groups have received the World Cup all through historical past.
“We should set our priorities. First, we should win the Africa Cup of Nations. We all know very nicely that it’s a troublesome and complex competitors, after which we can have loads of time to consider the World Cup,” Boufal informed Qatari’s AlKass Sports activities by a translator.
Morocco turned the primary workforce to qualify for the subsequent Africa Cup of Nations, which might be held in Ivory Coast early subsequent yr, and can search to erase their unhealthy recollections within the match, through which their solitary title win got here in 1976.
“The Nations Cup is completely different from the World Cup and the circumstances weren’t in our favour prior to now, so we will need to have a stronger mentality,” added the 29 year-old who performs for Qatari facet Al-Rayyan.
“Within the World Cup, the whole lot is nice, concerning to coaching and stadiums, however it is rather completely different in Africa. We should be life like and put together nicely for the match, which is not going to be simple in any respect.”
Boufal scored within the win over Brazil and mentioned the workforce was nonetheless driving excessive from their World Cup exploits.
“The key of our continued brilliance is that we continued what we did within the World Cup. We’ve got a robust defence, an organised assault, gifted gamers and we are able to make the distinction at any time,” he mentioned.
“The Brazil match was a celebration for us internet hosting the (then) primary in FIFA rankings and it was wonderful to attain in opposition to them in an incredible environment at dwelling. Now we should not loosen up and proceed with the identical tempo to return to Morocco with the African Cup of Nations title.”
Within the newest FIFA world rankings, Brazil dropped to 3rd place behind Argentina and France, whereas Morocco are ranked eleventh.
(Reporting by Ahmed Mostafa, Writing by Osama Khairy; Enhancing by Christrian Radnedge)