“Those days are over”, Morocco coach Regragui: “Europeans don’t like us for one reason”

12 months ago

Morocco coach Walid Regragui defended his team’s playing style at the World Cup and dismissed the importance of statistics like expected goals.

The Atlas Lions have been the big surprise of the competition in Qatar, beating Belgium, Canada, Spain and Portugal to become the first African team to reach the semi-finals, where they will face France. The African side have faced criticism for their defensive style, but Regragui is making no apologies.

“A lot of Europeans have criticised our style of play but that is because they don’t like to see an African team play cleverly,” he said at a press conference. “They think African teams used to be fun but get knocked out. But those days are over now. There isn’t just one way of winning.

“Look at France against England, they didn’t create 40 opportunities, they were just effective. I don’t really care about expected goals or possession. We had 0.01 percent chance of winning the World Cup at the outset, now we have 0.03 but we are going to try and destroy statistics”.

Expected goals is a statistical measure of the likelihood of a goal being scored depending on where on factors such as the field the shot was taken. Each shot is given a value between zero, which would mean the effort is impossible to score from, and one which means the player would be expected to score every single time.

Regragui’s team will meet reigning world champions France on Wednesday, with the winner going on to meet either Argentina or Croatia in the final on Sunday.