ARSENAL boss Mikel Arteta may have secretly helped develop the blueprint for Morocco’s stunning World Cup run to the semis.
Moroccan manager Walid Regragui – then manager at local club Wydad AC – took part in the Spaniard’s 2021 masterclass to the Gunners’ 2020 FA Cup win via Zoom.
In that call, Arteta broke Arsenal’s 2-0 FA Cup semi-final win over Manchester City and 2-1 final victory behind closed doors against Chelsea.
Regragui, 47, was listening intently and apparently taking notes as he’s in a World Cup semi-final just a year later.
Morocco is the dark horse of the Qatar World Cup, topping a group made up of 2018 finalists and fellow semi-finalists, Croatia, alongside Belgium’s golden generation and an impressive Canadian side.
The North African side defeated 2010 winners Spain 3-0 on penalties after going 0-0 in regular time.
Portugal came into play next in the quarter-finals and Morocco managed an unlikely 1-0 win to become the first African country to reach the last four of the competition, one step ahead of Cameroon 1990, Senegal 2002 and Ghana 2010 .
Impressively, Morocco have conceded just one goal in the winter tournament, and not even from an opposing player.
West Ham centre-back Nayef Aguerd turned the ball into his own net against Canada.
Morocco now meet reigning world champions France, a country from which they gained independence in 1956, on Wednesday for a place in Sunday’s final.
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And unlike France’s quarter-final opponents England, Regragui’s Morocco will not hatch an anti-Mbappe plan to stop the world champions.
Mbappe meets his Paris Saint-Germain teammate Achraf Hakimi.
Regragui said: “We will not make an anti-Mbappe plan because unfortunately there is not only him.
“If we know the level of Antoine Griezmann between the lines… but [Achraf] Hakimi is a great champion, so I’m not worried.
“These are two champions who will not give gifts. Achraf is highly motivated to beat his friend.”
And should Morocco deliver another major shock, they will face former group-mates Croatia in the final, or an Argentinian team willing to die for seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi.
Argentine heroine and Aston Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez said of Messi in 2021: “I want to give life to him, I want to die for him.”
Martinez helped Argentina win the 2021 Copa America and the 2022 Finalissima.
He also saved two penalty shoot-outs by the Netherlands in the quarterfinals.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6907022/how-arsenal-arteta-secretly-helped-morocco-world-cup-run/ How Arsenal boss Arteta secretly helped develop a blueprint for Morocco’s stunning 2022 World Cup run ahead of their France clash