World Cup 2022: Moroccan players attack referee after defeat against Croatia

Moroccan players chat with Qatari referee Abdulrahman Al Jassim after the World Cup third-place playoff soccer match between Croatia and Morocco at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco) ©Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
Moroccan players chat with Qatari referee Abdulrahman Al Jassim after the World Cup third-place playoff soccer match between Croatia and Morocco at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022.  (AP Photo/Francisco Sego)
Moroccan players chat with Qatari referee Abdulrahman Al Jassim after the World Cup third-place playoff soccer match between Croatia and Morocco at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco) ©Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

The reason? Qatar was unhappy with Al-Jassim’s refereeing during the Atlas Lions meeting. Hakimi and his teammates went straight to him and expressed their disappointment. It was goalkeeper Yasin Bounu who intervened and brought peace.

Moments later, Morocco’s coach, Walid Regragui, explained with the referee.

Moroccan players confront Qatari referee Abdulrahman Al Jassim after the Qatar 2022 World Cup soccer third place play-off match at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on December 17, 2022.
Moroccan players confront Qatari referee Abdulrahman Al Jassim after the Qatar 2022 World Cup soccer third place play-off match between Croatia and Morocco at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on December 17, 2022. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP) ©AFP OR

Tensions rose towards the end of the match, with the referee not awarding Morocco a blatant penalty for Amrabat’s foul on Guardiola in the 75th minute.

“This is not the Moroccan way”

According to several media outlets, Akraf Hakimi directly attacked the FIFA president. Leaving the stadium, he would have come face-to-face with Moroccan defender Gianni Infantino on the players’ corridor leading to the stadium. The initially angry PSG player later calmed down and apologised.

For his part, Morocco coach Walid Regragui returned to the controversy during the post-match press conference, criticizing his players’ attitude. “This is not the Moroccan way,” he said. “After a game we sometimes overreact. If you lose a match, you are always disappointed. “My players are very ambitious, but that is no disrespect”, he argued.

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