The ecstatic Regragui urges Moroccan players and fans to keep dreaming of more history

Walid Regragui’s dream of his Morocco team becoming Africa’s first World Cup semi-finalists came true on Saturday, but he said they can go even further in the tournament and continue to make history as they seek to inspire future generations.

Morocco became the first African and Arab nation to reach the last four with a stunning 1-0 defeat to Portugal, the latest scalp of their reputation-destroying run in Qatar that has broken new ground for the sport outside of Europe and South America.

Youssef En-Nesyri’s towering first-half header gave them victory that sparked euphoric scenes at Al Thumama Stadium and put them one game away from the World Cup final.

“What is important for future generations is that we have shown that it is possible for an African team to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup. Or even the final, why not?” an ecstatic Regragui told reporters.

“At a press conference three or four games ago, I was asked if we could win the World Cup. And I said, ‘Why not?’ “We can dream. Why shouldn’t we dream? If you don’t dream, you won’t get anywhere. It costs you nothing.”

“European countries are used to winning the World Cup, so we will have to try to get in there and go beyond ourselves.”

Having already mocked their unimaginable status after winning a tough Group F win over Croatia and Belgium, Morocco beat Spain on penalties before beating Portugal to continue their extraordinary run.

They will once again take on European giants in their attempt to rewrite history, taking on France or England, who play later, on Wednesday for a place in the final.

“The message I try to give the players is to be confident, go out and give it your all and have no regrets. And they believed me,” said Regragui.

“Of course it’s great to come to the World Cup, to play those three games in the group stage. We have elite players and we have a team that can win games at the World Cup. Sometimes you exaggerate things, but they really believed it and have now shown that they are capable of performing at this level.”

Goalkeeper Yassine Bounou added: “As our coach said, we are here to change the mindset. We have to get rid of that feeling of inferiority… The generation after us will now know that Moroccan players can work miracles.”

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