Furious Renard angry at Ronaldo goal but proud of Morocco's World Cup display

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Morocco became the first team to be eliminated from the 2018 World Cup but their coach was still a proud man, despite his anger at the officials

Herve Renard expressed his pride at Morocco's valiant performance against Portugal on Wednesday – but reserved anger for American referee Mark Geiger.

Renard's men deserved more than the 1-0 defeat that came courtesy of Cristiano Ronaldo's fourth-minute header, squandering numerous opportunities while Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio also pulled off a stunning save to keep out Younes Belhanda's flicked header in the second half.

Defeat in Moscow followed a 1-0 loss to Iran in their opener and means Morocco became the first side to be eliminated in Russia.

There were no recriminations afterwards, though, with an emotional Renard full of praise for his vanquished players.

He said: "I'm not disappointed with the performance, I am very happy with it. And I'm very proud of my players, of this country, proud of the staff, proud of everybody.

"I'm sure that all the Moroccan people are very proud of its team. Two and a half years ago we started a new adventure. We were ranked 81 in the world, now we are 41, we qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 20 years and we've shown that we can play football.

"We didn't get the goals we should have but here in Moscow it felt like we were playing in Casablanca.

"Some people drove all the way to Moscow and I hope they are proud, I am sure they are proud of their team."

Renard rued his team's profligacy in front of goal but was also furious Ronaldo's winner was not chalked off by Geiger for what he thought was a foul by Pepe at the corner.

"It's true that we weren’t very effective in the end but I'd like you [the media] to be honest. Have a good look at the corner when Portugal scored and have a good look at what their number three is doing and write the truth," he said.

"It's not up to me to comment on refereeing, I would ask you to have a look at the replays, the slow-motion clips, because a foul should have been seen and there should have been a free-kick.

"It was missed and Ronaldo appears. If I criticise referees I will be punished so the only thing you should write is we are very proud of our performance."

Renard was also quizzed on why Noureddine Amrabat was allowed to play five days after suffering a suspected concussion against Iran.

Amrabat started the fixture wearing a protective headguard but flung it off the field after just 16 minutes.

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Renard said: "Amrabat is a warrior, he wanted to play, he put on the protection but then removed it.

"It's because his spirit is amazing and I am lucky to have a player like this.

"I am not a doctor, medical reports are read by competent people in this field. I am not competent in medical matters. The medics take responsibility and so does the player and he played an outstanding match."

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