FOOTBALL – There was much tension before the game in anticipation of these two countries battling it out in the round of 16 for the 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup. Only one team was going through to the quarter-finals. Spain or Morocco!
Before today, Spain and Morocco had faced each other three times. Moreover, all three contests were part of the FIFA World Cup.
The first meeting between these nations was back in 1961 in the Africa-Europe group final of the FIFA World Cup. That time, Spain won 1-0. They met again less than two weeks later, and Spain prevailed by a score of 3-2.
More recently, Spain and Morocco most faced each other in the group stages of the 2018 World Cup. The result then was a 2-2 draw. Furthermore, it featured several players who were also in the lineup for tonight´s match.
Spain v Morocco FIFA 2022 World Cup
For the majority of the first half, Spain dominated the game. Morocco seemed to be playing defensively. Although the Moroccan side did have their chances at goal, Spain only seemed to have one really good chance to score. This came in the 26th minute when Asensio broke free from the Moroccan defence, but his effort hit the side of the net.
The match was being played at a very fast pace. Morocco had a good chance just before half-time but Aguerd missed the spot. Only one minute of stoppage time was added to the first half which remained 0-0.
Spain had many chances, but there never seemed to be anyone supporting, or waiting for a pass into the box. Meanwhile, Morocco seemed content to defend, and wait to score on the rebound. However, the 90 minutes plus stoppage time ended and the score was 0-0.
As with the game yesterday Japan v Croatia, despite a last minute corner for Spain, it was going to extra time.
Morocco had a good chance when Ounahi slipped the ball through to Cheddira. At this point Cheddira was just one on one with Simon in goal. Cheddira kicked it low, but Simon saved it with his feet.
Half time in Extra time and it was still goalless. Spain were still dominating the game, and looked the most likely to score. However, the Moroccan defence were outstanding. Spain had another last-minute chance, but the support in the box was late.
Extra time ended 0-0 which meant the game was going to be decided by penalties.
Morocco were first to take the chance of scoring a penalty.
Sabiri stepped up and scored. Sarabia of Spain was next. But he failed to score.
Then it was the turn of Ziyech who put it away for Morocco. Soler for Spain missed Spain´s second chance.
The third opportunity for Morocco was taken and missed by Benoun. Spain were still in with a chance. However, Busquets failed to bring one goal back.
The final goal from Hakimi clinched the victory for Morocco and put them through to the quarter-finals. Spain were going home.