Morocco advance to quarter-finals after beating Spain 3-0 in penalty shootout


Morocco, who edged Spain 3-0 in the shootout after a 0-0 draw at the end of two grueling hours of action, now have a shot at becoming both the Arab world and the top half -finalists from Africa if they continue to use the overwhelming support that has sustained them through an impressive range of results.

Morocco rode a wave of passionate support and kept Arab World Cup dreams alive by knocking out Spain in a penalty shootout on Tuesday to reach the quarter-finals.

In doing so, they became the first Arab nation to qualify for the last eight, securing a breakthrough for the region at the first global tournament in the Middle East, and also became the fourth African team to go this far in history. of the World Cup.

Their victory will be seen not only as a triumph for Morocco, but as vindication of FIFA’s controversial decision to hand Qatar the hosting rights, adding significant shine to another Arab success at the tournament as Saudi Arabia beating Argentina and Tunisia upsetting defenders France in the group stage. .

Morocco, who edged Spain 3-0 in the shootout after a 0-0 draw at the end of two grueling hours of action, now have a shot at becoming both the Arab world and the top half -finalists from Africa if they continue to use the overwhelming support that has sustained them through an impressive range of results.

They will play in the quarter-finals at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha on Saturday against either Portugal or Switzerland, who will be in action later on Tuesday.

The breathtaking cacophonous combination of chants, drums, mockery and whistles from Moroccan fans created an atmosphere like no other in Qatar’s stadiums.

They were again the vast majority of the 44,667 people present at the Education City stadium, completely drowning out the Spanish fans.

There is no ambiguity about their support as they cheer for their team and barricade the opposition in equal measure, and Moroccan players often look to them for a boost when needed.

Morocco were happy to allow Spain possession of the ball, but in the end they clung desperately to the shootout as they battled injuries and fatigue and lived dangerously in the closing stages.

Spain had a 63% dominance of possession in the game and, even taking into account the 30 minutes of extra time, completed an extraordinary 1,068 passes, 988 of which were successful.

But most of them moved from side to side, rarely producing the penetrating pass Spain were looking for.

Morocco had moments of enterprise in the counterattack and were carried by the individual efforts of destroyers like midfielder Sofyan Amrabat and full-backs Achraf Hakimi and Noussair Mazraoui.

They will, however, be very concerned to have lost central defender Nayef Aguerd, who limped off in tears in the second half, after winning the World Cup after ankle surgery which kept him out of action for most of the season. season at his new English club West Ham United.

First post: STI


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