Morocco makes history, Shocks Spain to Reach World Cup Quarter Finals
By: Gyang Dakwo
Morocco knocked out Spain on Tuesday via penalties to qualify for the quarterfinals of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
In the 90 minutes of normal action, Spain completely dominated possession, having 77 percent of the ball. The game ended with neither of the two teams being able to score during regulation time nor the extra time due to expert defense tactics.
In the resultant penalty shootout, the Atlas Lions converted three of its kicks against Spain, who failed to score any goal against the Moroccan national team.
Spain-born Achraf Hakimi scored the winning penalty for the North African side, but it was goalkeeper Bono who was the true hero for Morocco as he saved from Carlos Soler and Sergio Busquets, after Pablo Sarabia – brought on just to take a penalty – missed Spain’s first spot kick.
Celebrations marked the victory in and outside Qatar, with over 38 million Moroccans, Africa, and Arab nations celebrating the victory that will be certainly printed in World Cup history.
Morocco had a brilliant start in the tournament finishing the group stage unbeaten in its games with two of the “big teams” in world football.
Following a goalless draw with Croatia in its opening group match, Morocco went on to defeat Belgium (2-0) and Canada (2-1).
It has been 36 years since Morocco last qualified for the round of 16 and Moroccans from all walks of life have been heaping praises on both the head coach and players.
“The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 has been a dream come true for the Atlas Lions, who topped their group to qualify for the round of 16 and become the first African team to earn seven points in a FIFA World Cup group stage, all while being led by a Moroccan coach,” FIFA said prior to Morocco vs Spain match.