Nayef Aguerd 

Aguerd named in Morocco World Cup squad

Nayef Aguerd has been named in Morocco’s 26-man squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup finals.

The defender will look to add to his 25 caps for his country in Qatar, where the 2022 edition will mark Morocco’s sixth World Cup finals, having previously qualified in 1970, 1986, 1994, 1998 and 2018.

Aguerd, who made his international debut in a 0-0 draw against Albania in August 2016, returns to Morocco duty after making a positive return to action in recent weeks for the Hammers, following his recovery from an ankle injury suffered in pre-season.

The 26-year-old will look to hit top form in Qatar as Morocco seek a first knockout-stage appearance at a World Cup finals since 1986, when they topped a group that included Alvin Martin's England before losing to West Germany in the round of 16.

Nayef Aguerd tracks Mohamed Salah at the 2021 AFCON

At the 2018 edition held in Russia, Morocco did not qualify from a tough Group B that also featured Spain, Portugal and Iran.

This time around, Morocco will face Belgium, Canada and Croatia in Group F in Qatar.

Aguerd and company begin their 2022 World Cup campaign against Croatia at Al Bayt Stadium on Wednesday 23 November at 10am GMT, then face Belgium at Al Thumama Stadium on Sunday 27 November at 1pm GMT.

Morocco’s final Group F match will see them face Canada at Al Thumama Stadium on Thursday December 1 at 3pm GMT.

Born and raised in the port city of Kenitra in north-western Morocco, Aguerd will seek his second international goal in Qatar. The composed centre-half struck his first – and so far only - international strike in a 2-0 World Cup Qualifier win against Sudan in September 2021.

Aguerd will join teammates Lucas Paquetá, Alphonse Areola and Thilo Kehrer in Qatar after the trio were named in Brazil, France and Germany's squads earlier this week.