"I know what he is like” – Achraf Hakimi looking forward to ‘nice duel’ with Spain star during FIFA World Cup round of 16 tie

Hakimi on facing Asensio in the quarter finals
Hakimi on facing Asensio in the quarter finals

Morocco right-back Achraf Hakimi claimed he was looking forward to facing Spain attacker Marco Asensio in their last 16 FIFA World Cup clash.

Les Lions clash with La Roja on Tuesday, 6 December, at the Education City in Qatar.

Morocco have been the tournament's underdog story, winning Group F following victories over Belgium and Canada.

Meanwhile, Spain crept into the last 16 after a nervy finish to their group-stage campaign.

They finished second in Group E, beating Germany to the spot via a superior goal difference.

Hakimi has been a standout performer for Morocco, making three appearances and contributing an assist.

The Paris Saint-Germain defender talked up a potential battle with Spain's Asensio before the encounter, telling Spanish outlet AS:

"He knows what kind of player I am, I know what he is like... It will be a nice duel."

He continued by touching on Asensio's situation at Real Madrid, where he has fallen down the pecking order under Carlo Ancelotti:

"At Real Madrid he has had very good moments and now there are other players better than him, but in the National Team he has shown that he is on a spectacular level, that you have to be very careful with him and that, when given the confidence and support of the coach, he responds."

Asensio has been a prominent player for Luis Enrique's side at the FIFA World Cup, scoring one goal in three appearances.

He has much more of an impact for Spain than he does Madrid and Hakimi will be eager to get the better of the attacker as Morocco seek a place in the quarter-finals.

Brazil forward Neymar admits that he feared his FIFA World Cup campaign was over

Neymar returned from injury
Neymar returned from injury

Hakimi's PSG teammate Neymar is also at the FIFA World Cup with Brazil.

Selecao are in the quarter-finals after a 4-1 win over South Korea in the last 16.

Neymar netted a 16th-minute penalty in the victory over the Asian side.

However, there were concerns over the Brazilian attacker's fitness for the tournament when he suffered an ankle injury in a 2-0 opening win over Serbia.

He sat out a 1-0 win over Switzerland and a shock 1-0 defeat to Tunisia.

Neymar has admitted he feared the worst over his injury before making his return against South Korea (via Eurosport):

“I was thinking of a million different things. I was afraid of not being able to play in this World Cup again, but I had all the support of my friends and family and I tried to find strength where I could not find it."

Reacting to his performance against South Korea, he added:

“I did not feel any pain in my ankle. I think my performance went very well and I’m very content, but that said, I think we can always improve and that’s what I will try to do.”

Brazil will face Croatia in the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup on Friday, 9 December.

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Edited by Matthew Guyett
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