Morocco coach Walid Regragui will not make the mistake of playing for a draw against Canada as they look to make it out of the World Cup group stage for the first time in more than 35 years.
Following a stunning 2-0 victory over Belgium, the Atlas Lions stand on the verge of reaching the knockout rounds for only the second time in the country’s history, last doing so in 1986.
Canada, meanwhile, have only pride left to play for following a 4-1 defeat to Croatia after being edged out by Belgium in the opening Group F match after Alphonso Davies’ first-half penalty was saved.
— Équipe du Maroc (@EnMaroc) November 30, 2022
Regragui, though, maintains Morocco must stay fully focussed against a team intent on finishing the tournament on a positive note as Canada look ahead to co-hosting the 2026 World Cup.
“We know that we are coming up against a team which has got nothing to lose as they are already eliminated and will be out to hold their heads up high,” said Regragui, who replaced Vahid Halilhodzic as Morocco head coach just three months ago.
“But we also have a lot to get out of the game. We are motivated and are preparing for a difficult game.”
Regragui added: “It would be an error to go into the match thinking you only need to give 20 or 30 per cent because the draw is fine for us.
“We are coming up against a team who want to take their first points from a World Cup, so they will be giving it everything right up until the final whistle.
“But we are there to win as well – if we are looking for the draw, that would be a mistake.”
Morocco goalkeeper Yassine Bounou is expected to be available again after being replaced shortly ahead of kick-off against Belgium as he was feeling dizzy.
Canada head coach John Herdman hopes his squad can produce a display which does credit to their progress after reaching the World Cup finals for the first time since 1986, when the team lost all three group games without scoring a goal.
“Tomorrow is a real opportunity for our players, for our country, to keep stepping forward. As a group we have tactically – and with our identity – taken some big steps in this tournament,” the Englishman said.
“Football people have been waiting for Canada to arrive and were wondering how we were going to show up – I think we showed up on the front foot and that will be our approach again.
“We will stay committed to our identity and we will go into this match with an opportunity to make some more history.”