Vahid Halilhodzic’s intractable Morocco struggles to convince


If the performance on the field of the Atlas Lions arouses criticism from some supporters and the national press, the results in official competition since the arrival of Vahid Halilhodzic speak for themselves: 8 wins, 2 draws, and especially zero defeats. Already qualified for the 2022 World Cup play-offs and still unbeaten in qualifying – African and World Cups combined, he has made the best debut for a coach with 80% success in his first 10 official matches. By way of comparison, his predecessor Hervé Renard had won only one match out of two in his early stages (5V, 3N, 2D). In addition, the change of coach is also felt in their tactical approach: while the French favored a game of possession to find the loophole in the opposing block, Coach Vahid is distinguished by rapid transitions to surprise the opponent in recovery. of the balloon. Nevertheless, the sauce did not take in all the matches since his arrival: the poverty of the animation and the lack of efficiency were pointed out on certain affordable meetings on paper.

But like Renard, the Bosnian coach had to manage a complicated case in selection, in the person of Hakim Ziyech, who has not been selected since the September truce: “Ziyech has not been disciplined in the last two rallies and has refrained from training and did not appear to be a player who wears the national team jersey and is fighting to qualify for the World Cup . I will not tolerate this behavior as long as I am Morocco coach ”, had he blurted out at the microphone of Radio Mars following his non-convocation on September 1st. The Cherifian supporters feared a regression of the attacking game, which often relied on the Chelsea player. However, the players summoned in September and October gave the lie to all forecasts: 14 goals scored in 4 qualifying matches for the World Cup in Qatar. An average of 3.5 achievements per game, much more than the 16 other competitions combined (1.56 b / m).

Coach Vahid still not satisfied

For the reception of the national Syli, the usual 4-2-3-1 (adaptable to 4-4-2) gave way to a 3-5-2. Exit Ilias Chair in number 10 and Adam Masina to the left of the defense. Halilhodzic has decided to trust the young Sofiane El Karouani (20) as the left piston for his second selection and the central defender of OH Louvain (Belgian D1) Sofiane Chakla alongside captain Romain Saïss and Nayef Aguerd in a rearguard at 3 unheard of. A formation supposed to give more freedom to the lane players while keeping serenity in defense. If this device seemed to give satisfaction with a confiscation of the ball during the first 20 minutes, rewarded by the goal of Ayoub El Kaabi (21st), the Moroccan midfielder, on the paper with a rather offensive vocation Barkok (replaced by Amallah, 15th ) -Amrabat-Louza, was subsequently dominated by the opponent, which forced their block to retreat and concede a nice equalizer from Mamadou Kane at the half-hour mark. However, the Atlas Lions have could count on an important factor, which they did not really succeed before: efficiency in front of goal. Thanks to a double from Amallah and a realization of Boufal at the end of the match, Morocco converted more than one attempt on target of 2 (4 goals in 7 on target), just like in their double confrontation against Guinea-Bissau (15 shots on target, 8 goals).

And despite all these positive points, the Moroccan media are still not convinced by his method. Indeed, after the large victory against Guinea on Tuesday evening in Rabat, the former coach of Paris Saint-Germain seemed incredulous in front of the journalist, who asked him if he regretted the tactical changes made: “Why regret? We won 4-1 sir, that’s incredible … I don’t understand your question, we won 4-1, we had a great game against a very good team. It was the third game in 7 days, some boys were tired and despite the changes, we won. I don’t know what you expect from my teams, I’m a little bit squeamish with all the things you start (sic) it’s amazing! “ A disillusioned Vahid, not understanding the expectations of the local press. In the meantime, the Moroccan selection’s mission is to prepare the dams, scheduled for March 2022, during which it could face major African nations, such as Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon or Egypt. It also adds a 16th game to its unbeaten streak in all competitions, since a friendly defeat against Gabon by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (2-3). It remains far from that of its Algerian counterpart Djamel Belmadi, unbeaten in his last 31 meetings after his success on the lawn of Niger.

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