Morocco shocks Spain on penalties and advances to the World Cup quarterfinals for the fourth time in African team history. Tuesday’s match ended in a 0-0 draw, and Morocco defeated Spain on penalties to go to the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time ever.
After Spain missed all three of their extra-point attempts, Africa prevailed 3-0 in the shootout. Morocco shocks Spain on penalties and advances to the World Cup quarterfinals for the fourth time in African team history.
After a 0-0 draw on Tuesday, Achraf Hakimi converted the go-ahead penalty to propel Morocco into the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time.
Spain was eliminated in the process. However, Pablo Sarabia, Carlos Soler, and Sergio Busquets all failed from the spot, and Madrid-born Hakimi dinked his home to the joy of Morocco’s boisterous crowd.
Spain coach Luis Enrique had stated that his players prepared by attempting 1,000 penalties as homework. Portugal or Switzerland will be the opponents for Walid Regragui’s team in this new region; the best they had before was a last-sixteen elimination in 1986.
Spain had high hopes of repeating their World Cup victory from 2010, but after making it to the semifinals of Euro 2020, they were likewise defeated by Italy on penalties.
The teams were evenly matched throughout the nail-biting contest, with Spain holding the majority of the possession while Morocco, while having fewer opportunities, created the better openings.
After the team’s shocking loss to Japan, Luis Enrique tried out Marcos Llorente, his third right-back of the competition, and replaced Alvaro Morata on the bench with Marco Asensio. While their team was out of possession, Morocco’s supporters yelled angrily while Spain had the ball.
Morocco, the final remaining African and Arab team in the first World Cup ever held in an Arab nation, had a lot more support than Spain did. They resembled the away team in a hostile environment since La Roja was playing in a light blue second uniform.
Gavi did a great job, and at 18 years and 123 days old, he became the youngest player to start a World Cup knockout game since Pele in 1958. At his most aggressive, the Barcelona midfield terrier smashed into challenges left, right, and center and even dove to make one with his head.
Gavi’s shot would have been called offside, but Morocco’s goalkeeper Yassine Bounou deflected it into the crossbar. Asensio’s shot went into the side net, even though Spain wasn’t doing much offensively. Unai Simon saved Noussair Mazraoui’s long-range shot as Regragui sat deep defensively and threatened on the break.
Nayef Aguerd’s best opportunity of the half came from Sofiane Boufal, who early on snuck past Llorente like sand through the Spaniard’s fingers. However, Aguerd’s header was just inches wide.
After the break, the tension increased, and Bounou pounded away a Dani Olmo angle shot. Luis Enrique replaced Carlos Soler with the stubborn and dirty Gavi because Rodri had made the wrong choice.
He also added Morata, giving Spain a focal point up top, but they had trouble feeding him as Morocco sat farther back. Another substitute, Nico Williams, did connect with the Atletico Madrid striker once, but the angle was too narrow, so his shot sailed over the crossbar.
Olmo’s free-kick nearly made it through, but Bounou made a great save to stop it. As the game grew stale in the minutes leading up to overtime, Spain started to generate more meaningful opportunities.
In the extra period, Morocco came back with stability and tested Simon, who produced a fine leg save to stop Walid Cheddira after he broke in down Spain’s left flank.
Pablo Sarabia may have been offside, but in the last few seconds before penalties, Spain put a lot of pressure on the Sevilla goalkeeper but couldn’t get the ball past him.
Sarabia, who had been brought in for the shootout, missed Spain’s first penalty after Abdelhamid Sabiri had given Morocco the lead.
Hakim Ziyech scored before Hakimi scored against his native country to spark wild celebrations, while Soler and Busquets missed.