World Cup News 4.6.2018 04:50 pm

Morocco drop defender and add attacker for World Cup 23

Morocco's French head coach Herve Renard reacts during the friendly football match between Morocco and Ukraine at the Stade de Geneve stadium in Geneva on May 31, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINI

Morocco's French head coach Herve Renard reacts during the friendly football match between Morocco and Ukraine at the Stade de Geneve stadium in Geneva on May 31, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINI

Coach Herve Renard made one switch to his provisional squad on Monday when he brought Malaga striker Youssef En-Nesyri into Morocco’s final World Cup 23.

The 21-year-old Malaga forward was a backup on the original list but he has taken the place of Badr Benoun, a 24-year-old defender with Raja de Casablanca.

Renard dropped another backup, Noussair Mazraoui of Ajax, but kept Oualid El Hajjam, a defender with Amiens in France, as a reserve, leaving him a squad of 24.

The list only contains two players from Morocco’s domestic league.

The Atlas Lions are led by Mehdi Benatia, the Juventus defender involved in a controversial penalty incident as the Turin club lost to Real Madrid in the Champions League in April.

Morocco, who have been training at Crans-Montana in the Swiss Alps, have one more warmup game against Estonia in Talinn.

In their first World Cup in 20 years, Morocco are in Group B at the World and kick off against Iran in Saint Petersburg in June 15 before facing Portugal and Spain.

23-man World Cup squad:

Goalkeepers: Mounir El Kajoui (Numancia/ESP), Yassine Bounou (Girona/ESP), Ahmad Reda Tagnaouti (Ittihad Tanger)

Defenders: Medhi Benatia (Juventus/ITA), Romain Saiss (Wolves/ENG), Manuel Da Costa (Istanbul Basaksehir/TUR), Nabil Dirar (Fenerbahce/TUR), Achraf Hakimi (Real Madrid/ESP), Hamza Mendyl (Lille/FRA)

Midfielders: M’barek Boussoufa (Al Jazira/UAE), Karim El Ahmadi (Feyenoord/NED), Youssef Ait Bennasser (Caen/FRA), Sofyan Amrabat (Feyenoord/NED), Younes Belhanda (Galatasaray/TUR), Faycal Fajr (Getafe/ESP), Amine Harit (Schalke/GER)

Forwards: Khalid Boutaib (Yeni Malatyaspor/TUR), Aziz Bouhaddouz (St Pauli/GER), Ayoub El Kaabi (RS Berkane), Mehdi Carcela (Standard Liege/BEL), Hakim Ziyech (Ajax/NED), Nordin Amrabat (Leganes/ESP), Youssef En-Nesyri (Malaga, ESP).

+ 1 reserve: Oualid El Hajjam (Amiens, FRA).

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