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

DOHA, Dec 5 (Reuters) – Achraf Hakimi was born in Madrid but will have little hesitation in planning to topple Spain when he and his Morocco teammates play the 2010 World Cup winners on Tuesday.

The flying winger is one of the key players for the North African outfit whose last-16 Qatar World Cup tie against Spain, at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, will see them progress to the World Cup quarter-finals. first time

Hakimi could even be on the opposite side as he was called up to Spain’s youth team as a teenager.

“I felt it wasn’t the right place for me, I didn’t feel at home. It wasn’t for nothing, but it wasn’t how I lived at home, which is Arabic and Moroccan culture,” he told Spain . Marca newspaper in preparation for Tuesday’s clash.

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

Their son signed for Real Madrid at the age of seven, progressed 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 Saint-Germain.

And he is still only 24 years old.

This is not the first time he has played against Spain. Hakimi was part of the squad that almost beat them in Kaliningrad in 2018, conceding an equalizer in a 2-2 draw in Russia’s final World Cup match.

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“The experience of the four years since then has meant that I have come away with a more mature mindset,” he said.

VICTORY MENTALITY

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

“We finished first in the group and I think we deserve a bit of respect. I think Spain know that and they should be a bit scared of us. And why can’t we get another surprise?” – he said. with a loud voice.

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Morocco beat Belgium 2-0 in the first round to reach the last 16, followed by wins over Canada and Croatia in Group F.

“It’s a unique thing to play for your country. And especially now that we’re making history. It’s incredible to see how people live it with us, and that energy transfers a lot to us and to gives us the strength to continue and strive for great things,” Hakimi added.

Edited by Hugh Lawson

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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