FIFA Women's World Cup 70 Day Countdown: Day 16 - Morocco Snapshot

As we enter day 16 of Edge of the Crowd’s electrifying 70-day countdown to the highly anticipated 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, we’re diving headfirst into a whirlwind tour of the fierce and fabulous teams gracing this year’s tournament.

Join us on this journey as we dish out the inside scoop on each squad's strengths, weaknesses, players to keep an eye on and what a pass mark might be for each nation.

Next up, is FIFA Women's World Cup debutants, Morocco.

FIFA Women's World Cup appearances: 0

Best performance at a FIFA Women's World Cup: N/A

Players to watch

There appears to be no one bigger in Moroccan football than captain Ghizlane Chebbak. The 32-year-old forward has lead her country to its first-ever FIFA Women's World Cup - and the first country from the Arab world to do so since the tournament's inception in 1991 - and will be a key figure in its run.

Chebbak was instrumental in helping Morocco qualify for this year's event, scoring an equal-most three goals throughout the team's Africa Cup of Nations run on the way to winning Best Player of the Tournament, and finishing in the Best XI. With 21 goals in 56 appearances, Chebbak will be leading from the front this July.

Since choosing to represent Morocco at senior level after youth stints for England, Rosella Ayane has been a shining light right from her first minutes in the squad. Since her June 2021 debut, she's scored nine goals in 19 appearances, and from six games at the Africa Cup of Nations she scored two goals - including Morocco's only one of the final. For Tottenham Hotspurs, she's excelling just as much.

22-year-old defender Zineb Redouani may only have six international caps to her name, but she's making a name for herself for not only ASFAR in the Moroccan Women's Championship, but the national side too, being named to the Best IX of the Africa Cup of Nations last year. Similarly, Fatima Tagnaout was named in the Africa Cup of Nations Best IX also, as the 24-year-old ASFAR forward shows her ability inside the attacking third.

2023 form

In 2023 so far, Morocco has played four fixtures for two wins and two losses. In the first international window, Morocco beat Slovakia 3-0 and Bosnia and Herzegovina 2-0. Ayane scored a goal in each match. From there however, a 2-0 loss to the Czech Republic and 1-0 loss to Romania followed.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths: Morocco appear to have a great coach leading the way, with former Lyon manager and 2018 FIFA Women's Coach of the Year, Reynald Pedros, having taken over from Kelly Lindsay in November 2020. Already it seems that he's been able to take this team to the great heights they wish for. His appointment was made with a aim of making Morocco a stronghold of women's football at continental and world level, and by being runners-up at the Africa Cup of Nations, and qualifying for the World Cup, Morocco are on track to capitalise on its successes so far, with Pedros at the helm.

Weaknesses: As well this being their first ever FIFA Women's World Cup, the Atlas Lionesses will be coming into the tournament having played some big matches against quality opposition. With match-ups to come against Italy and Switzerland - two fellow 2023 World Cup teams - it'll be a great test to see how Morocco can match it. But, it can also have the opposite effect before heading into a group of Germany, South Korea, and Colombia. Playing teams mostly outside the top 45 in the rankings in recent fixtures could hurt Morocco coming into a tournament as big as the FIFA Women's World Cup and competing with higher-ranked footballing nations.

Pass mark

For the Atlas Lionesses, coming up against teams that are inside the top 26 at this year's World Cup won't be easy to take a point away from. Therefore, to keep the scorelines respectable and not have any blowouts, while scoring a couple of times themselves over the course of the campaign while showing the world what they're capable of on a bigger stage, will be a win for Morocco.

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