Morocco coach Vahid Halilhodzic said the Atlas Lions’ friendly match, scheduled for Thursday, June 2, against the United States, is a “real test” in preparation for the next matches, in particular the World Cup. in Qatar.
During a press conference on Wednesday in Cincinnati, Coach Wahid indicated that “this game will allow us to prepare ourselves to face Canada. Both teams have the same footballing approach. It’s not for nothing that they (note: the USA) are fifteenth in the FIFA rankings, it will be a real test for us”.
While welcoming the “good atmosphere and the state of mind” that reigns within the team, the Bosnian technician spoke of the difficulties in summoning the players for international matches after a long season.
“There are big difficulties, given that the players will only have one week off before the competition. I told the players it was their adventure, and it’s up to them to prepare to be physically at their best,” he said, adding: “There are a lot of uncertainties, especially because injuries. But I intend to favor the players who have the most playing and competitive time for the World Cup list.
Abundant in the same direction, the captain of the Atlas Lions, Roman Saïss, declared that “the atmosphere is necessarily good, even if we know that the period of international matches at the end of the season is always a bit complicated because ‘there have been a lot of matches, a lot of fatigue, also mental, and injuries”.
Regarding the challenge of the match against Team USA, he said that it is a meeting to “prepare for the World Cup, it is a source of motivation”. Asked about the history of matches between Morocco against the United States – three victories for the national team in as many friendly matches – the Morocco coach pointed out that American football has “progressed so much”.
“If they are fifteenth today, I understand, because most American players play in the biggest clubs in Europe”, he noted, stressing that it is a ” team with enormous individual and collective qualities, with the application of modern football, a huge volume of travel, everyone runs a lot. They have a lot of physical qualities, it will really be a huge test for us”.
“For me, the World Cup starts tomorrow. A world must be prepared for at least six months”, insisted Vahid, before noting that at the World Cup, “we are not favorites, we fell into a very difficult group, but we are going to seek the feat”.
Both the national coach and the captain of the team also wanted to congratulate the WAC and the Renaissance de Berkane for their coronations at the continental level.
“I think it has been a very good year for Moroccan football, with two continental titles, in addition to our qualification for the World Cup. These are things that are important for Moroccan football. But you have to tell yourself that it’s just a step and that you have to keep working and keep this culture of wanting to win a trophy every year, ”said Roman Saïss.
Note that five Moroccan internationals will miss this meeting. These are Noussair Mazraoui, Bayern Munich’s right-back, due to injury, Achraf Hakimi absent on “special leave”, Zakaria Abou Khlal engaged in the Europa League play-offs with his club AZ Alkmaar, Jawad El Yamiq, who still has a crucial Liga 2 game to play for his team, while Yahya Attiat Allah, did not make the trip due to the African Champions League final, contested and won on Monday by his club, Wydad Casablanca.