Football: Bassir determined to make his mark

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THE MOROCCO striker Salaheddine Bassir, without a goal in France 98 after being tipped by coach Henri Michel to be one of the stars of the tournament, is ready to make Scotland suffer in St Etienne tonight.

The Deportivo La Coruna forward has been promised a better service by his team-mates, after he failed to score against both Norway and Brazil, and he is determined to succeed in after being criticised by Michel.

The Frenchman had been banking on the 25-year-old to fire Morocco's Group A campaign after a stunning double in the Hassan II tournament in Casablanca, but that has so far proved to be a misleading guide.

"After the two magnificent goals he scored against France I thought he would be one of the stars of the World Cup," Michel said. "But that hasn't been the case. Against Norway he had an excuse, as we just pumped high balls up to him.

"Although he jumps well, he could not compete against the Norwegian giants. In the Brazil match, though, he was among those who did nothing. His ball control and dribbling were both poor, and so was his performance."

Bassir, of course, saw things rather differently, but still appreciates that the team are looking to him to lead the line against Scotland.

"It's true that against Norway I did not receive many good passes, but I did play a part in the move that led to our second goal," he said. "I gave the ball to Tahar and then went on a decoy run which 'Camacho' (Hadda) then took advantage of.

"Against Brazil it was different. Each time I received the ball, I had two Brazilians on my back and few team-mates in support.

"Since then I've had some long chats with my colleagues. I now believe that against Scotland they will give me some easier passes to deal with, so I should have a better chance of scoring."