Morocco National Football Team
Morocco National Football, or the Atlas Lions as they’re affectionately known, is one of Africa’s most talented footballing sides. They have been one of the best teams on the continent for decades now and go into the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in great shape.
Want to see how The Morocco National Football Team will do in the Qatar 2022 World Cup? Click the links below to bet on your favourite World Cup matches!
Wednesday November 23 – Morocco vs Croatia (Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor; kick-off 11am).
Sunday November 27 – Belgium vs Morocco (Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor; kick-off 2pm).
Thursday December 1 – Canada vs Morocco (Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor; kick-off 4pm).
Morocco National Football Pre-independence
As was often the case with French colonies at the beginning of the 20th century, the Morocco National Football team played primarily unofficial and against weakened French teams and their colonies initially. There was no cohesive Moroccan National Football team at the beginning, but various sides made up of players from the domestic league, which included both settlers and natives.
The team would have to wait till after the Second World War and independence to start bringing some structure to the national team and improving its domestic game.
Morocco earned their independence in 1955. That very same year, the Royal Moroccan Football Federation was set up to start bringing some much-needed shape to the nation’s relationship with football.
Two years later, the country played its first official match in the Pan-Arab games. They drew 3-3 with Iraq. The team even managed to make it to the semi-final and was only knocked out when the winner had to be randomly selected after they drew 1-1 with Syria. Not a bad start for a brand-new team!
Two years later, the team started competing internationally when they entered the qualifying rounds for the 1960 Olympics. Although the campaign was ultimately unsuccessful, it sparked an ambition in Morocco National Football for the side to start duking it out with the world’s best.
They immediately got another chance to do so when the team began their campaign for World Cup qualification in 1960. Unfortunately, although they started well, they fell the last hurdle as Spain knocked them out in the intercontinental playoffs.
With things moving so fast, though, the team didn’t have long to feel down about missing out on the World Cup. In 1961 the Pan-Arab games, in which Morocco had introduced themselves to the world just four years earlier, came to Rabat. Not only was Morocco a great host, but they also ended up taking the trophy home after winning every single one of the five matches they played.
Relative International Success
During the 1960s and 70s, the team started participating in the Olympic Games and the African Cup of Nations, which they won in 1976, marking the team’s first and only major trophy. They qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 1970, becoming the first team outside of Europe or the Americas to reach the round of 16 in the 1986 competition in Mexico. The team that achieved this feat is widely regarded as Morocco’s golden generation, and the team continued to do well throughout the 1990s.
The New Millennia
The turn of the century marked a change of fortunes for the team as they went on a barren 20-year spell without World Cup qualification. However, this run ended in 2018 when the team once again qualified for the tournament. But, sadly, they fell out in the group stage.
Morocco National Football Team Trivia
- Although many of Morocco’s best players end up going abroad, their domestic league is deceptively strong. This plays a big role in the team’s success in the African Nations Championship, which Morocco has won twice, in 2018 and 2020.
- Morocco has never lost by more than six goals. While no team would be happy with such a result, most teams’ record defeats are certainly larger. The 6-0 hammering of Morocco by Hungary is made far more forgivable by the fact that that 1964 team is considered one of the best in history.