Morroco boss Regragui pleased with his side's World Cup achievements
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Morocco coach Walid Regragui claimed his side can hold their heads up high despite their 2-0 World Cup semi-final defeat to France.

Theo Hernandez broke the deadlock early on but Morocco - the first African semi-finalists in history – went full range on the reigning champions and were even the better side for spells before substitute Randal Kolo Muani's first France goal secured a 2-0 win in the closing stages.

While the story of the year will be the battle between Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi on Sunday, Wednesday night was a night where Morocco proved their shock progression into the last four was no fluke and was fully deserved.

And after the full-time whistle, Regragui said Morocco have helped the image of African football on a global stage and he could not be prouder about his side’s exploits.

Morocco boss proud of team’s achievements

Speaking after the game, Regragui said: “The whole world is proud of this Moroccan team. We showed desire, played hard and have given a good image of Morocco and of African football.”

“The most important thing is to have shown a good face, to have shown that football in Morocco exists and that we have great supporters”

“We were representing our country and our continent. People already respected us but I think they respect us more now.”

“Congratulations to France. I said before the match, they are a very good side and they were well-placed to win the game but in spite of all the injuries we had, the tiredness, we pulled out all the stops, gave them everything, caused them problems and that is already quite an achievement.”

“You can't win a World Cup with miracles, you need to win it through hard work and that is what we will do, we will keep working.”

Regragui was keen to reward the players who had claimed the scalps of Belgium, Spain and Portugal but it did not go as planned.

But he said he had no regrets after his decision to name captain Romain Saiss and Nayef Aguerd in his starting line-up for their World Cup semi-final loss to France.

“Until the last minute we weren't sure, we waited until the last minute to see if Romain could play. He is such an important player for us, our captain,' he said, admitting his squad were on their 'last legs'.

“Nayef was recovering from flu and wanted to play as well, I thought it was best to play with three defenders so they didn't have too much to run at.:

“We made a lot of mistakes and then Romain had to go off and we changed to a four-man defence and actually played better.”

“I have no regrets about the decision. Nayef's absence was difficult and all of these little things meant we got off to quite a poor start, you learn from your mistakes, I do as well. If all our squad was fit we could have caused them even more problems.”

“At a World Cup, this was one step too far, not in terms of quality or tactics but physically, we had too many players at 60-70 per cent.”