Sat. Apr 13th, 2024
Morroco Women's World Cup

Morocco’s Rosella Ayane, center, celebrates with teammates after the Women’s World Cup Group H soccer match between Morocco and Colombia in Perth, Australia, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Gary Day)

Morocco coach Reynald Pedros said Tuesday his team reaching the Women’s World Cup last 16 was as impressive as the country’s men getting to the semifinals of the Qatar World Cup.

Their run ended with a 4-0 loss to France in Adelaide but Morocco exceeded all expectations by getting to the knockout rounds at their debut Women’s World Cup.

“Being in a World Cup last 16 for Morocco is exceptional. It has been a remarkable adventure,” said Pedros, the former French international midfielder.

His team bounced back from losing 6-0 to Germany in their first game in Australia to beat South Korea and Colombia, both by a 1-0 scoreline, and advance to the knockout stage.

“We have been together as a team since the 12th of June, working for and preparing for this World Cup,” added Pedros, who became coach in 2020 and took the team to the final of the Africa Cup of Nations last year.

“I don’t think we could have imagined going into our last group game with a chance of getting to the last 16.

“I sincerely believe that getting to the last 16 with this team, for the first time, is the equivalent of the guys getting to the semi-finals.

“It is beyond fantastic. We only started building this team three years ago. There are so many things that make us proud even though we have been knocked out.”

Morocco’s men lost 2-0 to France in the semifinals of the Qatar World Cup and ended up finishing fourth, the best performance by an African team at the tournament.

Pedros and his side will now regroup to try to qualify for next year’s Paris Olympics, with Morocco’s women never having featured at the Games before.

“I am going to congratulate and thank them because what they have given us in terms of emotions is quite incredible, and then we will get back down to work,” he said.

“We have the Olympic qualifiers to prepare for but we have gained experience from this.

“I am really, really proud to be coach of this team because we have fantastic players.”

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