Doha Dec 5 (Reuters) – Achraf Hakimi may have been born in Madrid, but he and his Morocco team-mates will have little hesitation in plotting Spain’s downfall when they host the 2010 World Cup champions on Tuesday.
The fledgling wing-back was a key player in Spain’s World Cup last-16 tie against Qatar, giving them a chance to reach the World Cup quarter-finals at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan. For the first time.
Hakimi could even be on the opposite side as he was called up to Spain’s junior team as a teenager.
“I felt it wasn’t the right place for me, I couldn’t feel at home. Not for anything in particular, but I didn’t feel like I was at home in the Arab culture that is Morocco,” he told the Spanish press. Marca newspaper has it up to Tuesday’s clash.
Hakimi’s father is a vendor on the streets of Madrid and his mother cleans houses.
Their son was recruited by Real Madrid at the age of 7, made it to the first team, went on loan to Dortmund, won the Serie A championship with Inter Milan, and is now at Paris Saint-Germain. Playing with Kylian Mbappe.
And he’s only 24 years old.
This is not the first time I have played against Spain. Hakimi conceded an injury-time equalizer in a 2-2 draw at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, a side that nearly won in Kaliningrad in 2018.
“Four years of experience has given me a more mature mindset,” he said.
The spirit of victory
“Spain is a top-five team and always came to win the World Cup. But the coach taught us to have a winning mentality, it doesn’t matter who we’re up against. We’re going to try to win. Try to beat them.
“We got first in the group and I think we deserve a bit of respect. Spain know that and I think they must be a bit scared. And I wonder if we can pull off another surprise?” Pronounced.
Morocco beat Belgium 2-0 in the first leg to secure a place in the last 16, and advanced to the next round after defeating Croatia and Canada in Group F.
“It’s something special for your country. Especially now that we’re making history. It’s unbelievable how people are living with us, sending a lot of energy to us and giving us strength to continue. Great things,” added Hakimi.
Edited by Hugh Lawson.
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