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Morocco, with its fearless players, advances while Spain fails to win

Morocco, with its fearless players, advances while Spain fails to win

Morocco, with its fearless players, advances while Spain fails to win

Morocco, with its fearless players, advances while Spain fails to win the shootout

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  • Spain and Morocco ended scoreless on Tuesday
  • Achraf Hakimi calmly converted a penalty to put Morocco through to the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time with a 3-0 shootout victory over the former champions

After Pablo Sarabia struck the post, Yassine Bounou of Morocco stopped Carlos Soler and Sergio Busquets’ penalty kicks, and Spanish-born Hakimi maintained his composure to secure his team a quarterfinal matchup against either Portugal or Switzerland.

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Twelve years after Ghana accomplished so in South Africa, Morocco became just the fourth African country to advance to the tournament’s final eight.

After a gritty game that ended in a 0-0 draw after extra time and had few chances on goal for either team, Morocco benefited from the boisterous backing of their red-clad fans in the shootout as Spain lost.

Spain had more than 75% of the ball and nearly 800 passes completed, but Morocco troubled them on the break, and goalkeeper Unai Simon made some excellent stops.

“We fought and made the Moroccan people happy, we made history and Morocco deserve it, Moroccan people made us united on the pitch,” coach Walid Regragui told Bein Sports.

Morocco defender Jawad Yamiq was proud of his team’s performance.

“We honoured the Arab and African football, coach Regragui gave us the confidence that we needed in this game, a big boost in morale,” he said.

“We knew that Spain depend on their ball possession and we played with that in mind. They didn’t impose any danger.”

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It was the fourth time Spain have been knocked out of the World Cup on penalties and the second in a row.

“We completely dominated the match, it’s a shame it went that way,” Spain manager Luis Enrique toldΒ TVE.

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“Playing against a hard-working squad like Morocco is the most challenging thing.

We lost because of the penalties, but I am extremely pleased of the team and all the players. Although I’m disappointed in the outcome, I must commend Morocco.

little shots
Large stretches of the game were spent by the Spanish around the Moroccan penalty area without making any attempts at shoots, through balls, or other manoeuvres to dismantle their well-prepared opponents.

They attempted to play the possession-based style of football that distinguished the great Spanish teams who won the World Cup and two European Championships between 2008 and 2012.

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But because they lacked a cutting edge, Morocco gave them the ball and tried to take advantage of the speed of Hakim Ziyech and Soufiane Boufal.

After the latter was fouled, Hakimi sent a free kick over for the African team, which presented the first scoring opportunity.

The only other opportunities in a close first half came from Spain’s Marco Asensio and a missed header by defender Nayef Aguerd.

In the 54th minute, Dani Olmo had Spain’s first attempt at goal, but Bounou palmed it away.

Alvaro Morata and Nico Williams were introduced by Luis Enrique to give his squad some energy, and Morocco had to dig deep to survive extra time without losing a goal.

They were successful in doing so, and Spain’s defeat in the shootout sparked raucous celebrations among the delighted Moroccan fans who will have at least one more opportunity to make their presence known in Qatar.

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FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar: Morocco vs Spain Full Highlights
FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar: Morocco vs Spain Full Highlights

Morocco beat Spain 3-0 in extra time and penalties to progress to...

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