David Adán


Several talents have stood out in the Atlas Lions' surprise World Cup run


Morocco topped Group F ahead of Belgium and Croatia, and have beaten Spain and Portugal in the knockout stages. Their success is no fluke.

It’s the first time in World Cup history that an African nation has reached the semi-finals. Who have been the Moroccans’ stand-out players?

With Amine Harit out, Azzedine Ounahi has been the midfield magician. He’s very versatile: he can play in central midfield or in a more advanced role.

Ounahi is the link between defence  and attack. He plays for Angers, Ligue 1’s bottom club, and is 22 years old. Physically, he’s also very impressive.

Spain boss Luis Enrique was struck  by Ounahi’s ability. “I was surprised  by the No. 8 - I don’t remember his name. Where did he come from?”

Among the French league’s most frequent penetrative passers, Ounahi is taking full advantage of the shop window provided by the World Cup.

There are even rumours that Barcelona could be chasing the Moroccan. His market value is €4m, but his price will go up after the World Cup.

Sofyan Amrabat has been another  major revelation. The Fiorentina anchorman is attracting admiring glances from a number of clubs.

Sofyan's brother, Nordin, has talked  up a move to Paris: “Imagine how  well he’d link up with Marco Verratti. PSG, read my lips: buy him!”

According to Sky, Liverpool are eyeing Amrabat - a player who marshals  the entire Moroccan team. He has quality and top physical attributes.

He’s a player who covers every blade of grass and is tactically very intelligent. Though only 26, he plays like a veteran.

Bono and Achraf Hakimi, meanwhile, are two players who are well-known to European football fans and have been key to Morocco’s run to the semis.

On Wednesday, Morocco will play  their biggest game in their history as they look to continue their dream and reach the World Cup final.

Meanwhile, France will look to qualify for their second straight World Cup final. They’re much stronger on paper, but anything can happen…