Hakim Ziyech warns World Cup rivals not to underrate Morocco

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Herve Renard's side will be hoping to register a flying start when they take on Iran in their opening game on Friday

Hakim Ziyech has maintained that Morocco are in Russia to compete and win the World Cup.

The Atlas Lions are going to the tournament with an unbeaten record after they beat Estonia 3-1 in their fifth and final friendly in preparations for the tournament.

Morocco defeated Serbia, Uzbekistan, and Slovakia and drew with Ukraine. Throughout their friendlies, Morocco scored nine goals and conceded three.

Morocco’s last defeat came on June 10th 2017 in an Africa Cup of Nations qualification game away at Cameroon, following a disappointing start to the year that saw them lose a friendly to the Netherlands and exit the Africa Cup of Nations prematurely thanks to Kahraba’s goal in the quarter finals.

"If we don't believe that we can progress, what is the point of going to the tournament?" the Ajax Amsterdam midfielder told KweséESPN.

“It means a lot to have qualified for the World Cup. It is the first time in 20 years that we've made the World Cup, and I'm proud to have been a part of the team that has achieved that.

“I expected it would be a big thing for the people of Morocco that we qualified, but I didn't expect it to be as big as it was. It was crazy, all the celebrations. I felt very proud."

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Morocco will be in the same Group as Iran, Portgual and Spain and Ziyech has admitted that they must put extra effort to make their mark. “This is a difficult group, but if we look at it through a positive lens it can be good...good for us as players, but also good for us as a country.

“To play against these kinds of countries will be difficult, but it will be nice too. Playing against the likes of (Cristiano) Ronaldo and (Andres) Iniesta is a great motivation, but we believe in ourselves."

Herve Renard's side will take on Iran in their opening game on Friday, June 15, before they face off against European champions Portugal and 2010 World Cup winners Spain in the final group games.