Morocco coach says ‘players gave everything’ after World Cup defeat

Morocco coach Walid Regragui said the Atlas Lions ‘gave everything’ and went ‘as far as they could’, following their World Cup semi-finals defeat on Wednesday.

Yassine Bounou stretched out his arm with everything he had, desperately trying to get something, anything, in the way of the ball. It was no use.

France substitute Randal Kolo Muani had come on only seconds earlier and with his first touch assured the defending champions of a second straight World Cup final, putting an end to Morocco’s proud fight once and for all.

France ended up winning 2-0 and will face Argentina for the title on Sunday.

But it wasn’t until that moment, in the 79th minute of an enthralling semifinal match at Al Bayt Stadium on Wednesday, that the two-time champions could breathe easily.

“My players gave everything,” Morocco coach Walid Regragui said. “They’ve gone as far as they could. It’s difficult for them to take now. They wanted to rewrite the history books, but you can’t win a World Cup with miracles, you have to do it with hard work and that’s what we are going to do, keep working.”

The team that has provided the most improbable story of this year’s World Cup got off to a terrible start. Morocco lost two players from its starting lineup and conceded a goal to an opposition player for the first time in the tournament — all by the 21st minute.

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