Vahid Halilhodzic Hakim Ziyech Qatar Belgium Croatia Morocco Football curling Chelsea Vahid Halilhodzic Hakim Ziyech Qatar Belgium Croatia Morocco

Morocco reap the rewards with Hakim Ziyech back and at his best

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independent.co.uk

When Walid Regragui took over as Morocco coach with the World Cup on the horizon, he knew the decision he had to make first.With one of his first acts in charge, Hakim Ziyech, banished out into the cold by former boss Vahid Halilhodzic over his willingness to play for the national side, was welcomed warmly back into the fold.An often divisive figure at Chelsea, Ziyech has routinely struggled for consistent form and playing time for long periods at Stamford Bridge, his body language not helping the observation that this is a player the club have yet to properly get the best out of, the swagger and arrogance that has been seen to such positive effect in this tournament too often coming off instead as a negative.Here in Qatar, though, back amongst his countrymen on the grandest stage of all, Ziyech is now showing just how good he can be when player and team are properly aligned.After a lively if not ultimately decisive performance in the opening draw with Croatia on Wednesday, Ziyech came properly to life against Belgium on Sunday, the catalyst to, and driving force behind, a famous Atlas Lions win.Regragui knows, as he did when he was appointed, just how important his main man is."He is incredible, the spirit he has, coming back to the national team," the coach said after the game. "A lot of people talk about him, say he is crazy and difficult to manage, that he can't help the team. "But when you give him the love and confidence, he will die for you.

He is a key player and a different player with the national team."It was Ziyech himself who thought he'd opened the scoring, his curling free-kick from out wide going past everyone and into the Belgian net in first-half stoppage time only to be ruled out after VAR intervention

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