What is Morocco’s World Cup record - and could they stage another upset against France?

Morocco in Qatar has been one of the greatest underdog stories in World Cup history

Morocco have proven to be the surprise package of the 2022 World Cup and they have defied the odds to reach the last four of this year’s tournament.

The North African side entered Qatar as huge underdogs but impressed in their opening three games by finishing top of a group featuring Croatia, Belgium and Canada. Morocco then followed that up by stunning 2010 World Cup winners Spain and Euro 2016 champions Portugal in the knockout stages.

The Atlas Lions have been one of the feel good stories of the tournament and perhaps the biggest underdog story in the 92-year history of the World Cup. They will hope to continue this momentous run with a victory against reigning world champions France.

Morocco’s heroics in Qatar have taken the whole footballing world by surprise but have they ever won the World Cup before and what are their chances of lifting the most coveted prize in the game? Here is everything you need to know.

Have Morocco ever won the World Cup?

Morocco have never lifted the World Cup in their history and are the only side left in the competition that has never previously won.

Morocco’s opponents France are the reigning World Cup holders and have lifted it on two occasions - the first came in 1998 when they hosted the tournament and the second title came four years ago in Russia 2018.

Morocco are the first African team in history to reach the World Cup semi-final. (Getty Images)Morocco are the first African team in history to reach the World Cup semi-final. (Getty Images)
Morocco are the first African team in history to reach the World Cup semi-final. (Getty Images)

Finalists Argentina are also chasing their third World Cup title. The South American giants previously lifted the trophy as the host nation in 1978 and in Mexico during the 1986 edition, when Diego Maradona stole all the headlines

How far did Morocco get in their last World Cup tournament?

Morocco are competing on the world stage for just the sixth time in their history. Their last World Cup campaign came four years ago in Russia 2018.

The North African side were managed by current Saudi Arabia coach Hervé Renard at the time and qualified for the tournament for the first time since 1998. Renard’s team were placed in a hugely difficult group featuring Spain, Portugal and Iran and finished bottom of the group with just one point from three games.

What is Morocco’s record in the World Cup?

Prior to this year’s tournament in Qatar, Morocco had made the knockout stage just once in their five previous World Cup attempts.

Morocco finished top of their group in 1986 above the likes of England, Poland and Portugal. The highlight was an impressive 3-1 victory over Portugal in their final group game.

Morocco were subsequently eliminated in the round of 16 after a 1-0 defeat to runners-up West Germany.

Here is Morocco’s record in their previous five World Cups:

  • 1986 - Round of 16
  • 1994 - Group Stage
  • 1998 - Group Stage
  • 2018 - Group Stage

What has Morocco’s road to the semi-final been?

Morocco have been the dark horses of the tournament in Qatar and have become the first African nation in history to reach the semi-final of the World Cup. The previous record had been shared by Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002) and Ghana (2010) who had all been beaten at the quarter-final stage.

Morocco have proven exceptionally difficult to break down throughout the competition. They began the tournament with a 0-0 draw against World Cup finalists Croatia, before following that up with a stunning 2-0 victory over Belgium’s golden generation and securing top spot in the group with a 2-1 win over Canada.

The Atlas Lions faced a free scoring Spain in the round of 16 and entered the game as huge outsiders with the bookmakers. Unlike an ageing Croatian and Belgium side, Spain were full of youth and exuberance and had scored an impressive nine goals across their opening three games.

Spain had prided themselves on their silky tika-tika style and their ability to wear down opponents and open them up with short sharp passing. However, they were unable to break down a stubborn backline and found themselves exposed on the break through the pace of Moroccan wingers Sofiane Boufal and Hakim Ziyech. Morocco held Spain to a 0-0 draw and kept their cool from the spot to secure a comfortable 3-0 shootout victory.

In the quarter-final they were paired with Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal. Like Spain, Portugal had been free scoring throughout the tournament and dismantled Switzerland in their previous game with a 6-1 win.

The key to Morocco’s success in the tournament so far has been their defensive solidarity and the tactics imposed by their manager Walid Regragui. This once again paid dividends in the quarter-final as Morocco secured an impressive 1-0 victory courtesy of a goal from Youssef En Nesyri.

Can Morocco beat France?

Morocco will face their toughest test yet against reigning world champions France and will be aiming to take African football a step further by becoming the first nation from the continent to reach the final.

Regragui’s team will enter the game as huge underdogs as they have done all tournament, besides the game against Canada. They will once again look to be disciplined and solid at the back, particularly in a game where they can expect to have little of the ball.

Morocco have imposed a similar style of football to the one we saw with Greece 18 years ago when they stunned the world to win Euro 2004 and they too had to defeat France on their route to glory.

The likes of Achraf Hakimi, Romain Saiss and Hakim Ziyech will all need to be at their best to have any chance of shocking Didier Deschamps’ side.

However, it is tough to see them having enough to beat the reigning world champions who are blessed with world class talent throughout the field such as Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Grizemann and Ousmane Dembele.