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 Moroccan team-mates take on the 2010 World Cup winners on Tuesday.

The flying full-back is one of the key players in the North African side, Qatar’s World Cup round of 16 match against Spain at the Al Rayyan Education City Stadium gives them the chance to reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup. first time.

Hakimi could even have been on the opposite side as he was called up to the Spanish junior national team as a teenager.

“I felt it wasn’t the right place for me, I didn’t feel at home. It wasn’t for anything in particular, but it wasn’t how I lived at home, which is Arab culture, being Moroccan,” he said in Spain. The 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.

His son was signed by Real Madrid at the age of seven, broke into 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’s still only 24 years old.

It won’t be the first time he plays against Spain. Hakimi was in the team that almost beat them in Kaliningrad in 2018, conceding a stoppage-time equalizer in a 2-2 draw at the last World Cup in Russia.

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

WINNING MINDSET

“Spain is one of the top five and we always come to the World Cup to win. But our coach has also taught us to have a winning mentality, no matter who we face. We will try to play our way. and try to beat them.

“We finished first in the group and I think we deserve a little respect. I think Spain knows that and they should be a little afraid of us. And why can’t we pull off a surprise again?”, he asked himself. 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 beat Canada to win Group F with Croatia second.

“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 this energy transmits a lot to us and gives us strength to continue and try to do it. great things Hakimi added.

Edited by Hugh Lawson

Our standards: the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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