Morocco’s Hakimi up against country of his birth at World Cup

DOHA, Dec 5 (Reuters) – Achraf Hakimi was born in Madrid but will not hesitate to plot Spain’s downfall when he and his Morocco team-mates take on the 2010 World Cup winners on Tuesday.

The winger is one of the key players for the north African outfit whose last game in the 16th century in the Qatar World Cup against Spain, at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, gives them a chance to reach the quarter-finals of the Cup World for the first time.

Hakimi could have even been on the other side, as he was called up as a teenager to Spain’s youth team.

“I felt it wasn’t the right place for me, I didn’t feel at home. It wasn’t for anything in particular, but that’s not how I lived at home, which is the Arab culture, being in Morocco,” he told Spain. Marca newspaper in the run-up to Tuesday’s clash.

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Hakimi’s father was a street vendor in Madrid and his mother cleaned houses.

Their son was signed by Real Madrid aged seven, broke through to the first team, went on loan to Borussia Dortmund, won the Serie A title with Inter Milan and now plays alongside Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe at Paris St Germain .

And he is still only 24 years old.

This will not be the first time he has played against Spain. Hakimi was in the team that almost beat them in Kaliningrad in 2018, conceding an injury-time equalizer in a 2-2 draw at the last World Cup in Russia.

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“Four years of experience since then have meant that I have come with a more mature mindset,” he said.


“Spain are a top five team and always come to the World Cup to win. But our coach has also taught us to have a winning mentality; it doesn’t matter who we’re up against. We’re going to try to play our way and try to beat them.

“We finished first in the group and I think we deserve a bit of respect. I think Spain know that and they must be a bit scared of us. And why can’t we won’t we pull off a surprise again?”, he thought out loud.

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Morocco secured their place in the last 16 with a key 2-0 win over Belgium in the first round and then followed that up by beating Canada to win Group F with Croatia in second place.

“It’s something unique, playing for your country. And especially now that we’re making history. It’s amazing to see how people live it with us, and that energy transfers a lot to us and gives us strength to continue and look to do it. great things,” Hakimi added.

Edited by Hugh Lawson

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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