Morocco beat Spain on penalties to reach first ever quarter final after heroic display

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Morocco beat Spain on penalties to reach first ever quarter final after heroic display
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Morocco beat Spain on penalties to reach first ever quarter final after heroic display
Morocco beat Spain on penalties to reach first ever quarter final after heroic display
StatsPerform, Profimedia
Morocco reached the quarter finals of the World Cup for the first time in their history with a truly heroic performance against Spain. Following 120 minutes of sheer defensive resilience, they kept their cool in the penalty shootout, with Achraf Hakimi chipping the final penalty down the middle. Spain missed all three of their penalties, after failing to break down a stoic Moroccan defence in normal and extra time.

Well, well, well. What a game. Spain are dumped out by a truly unbelievable Morocco performance. I am sure they will be celebrating well into the night. Check out our match report of the game right here.

Up next, we have Portugal vs Switzerland, which kicks off in an hour. The winners of that match will take on Morocco. As usual, we will be covering that. Go take a quick break, have a breather, make yourself a drink, and we will see you there.

Morocco 0-0 Spain (3-0 AET)

The scenes here are just astonishing. Morocco have reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup for the first time in their history. Luis Enrique put a big emphasis on penalties, but they missed every single one of theirs. That shows that you can never replicate the pressure of the big occasion. Bono was amazing in that shootout, with some great saves. And Hakimi, the sheer audacity to chip it down the middle with his final penalty. Utterly ridiculous. Also, let's talk about Amrabat. He is SO good. His performance today was mind-boggling. One of the best performances I have seen from a player all tournament.

In the 120 minutes, Morocco were absolutely phenomenal. The effort they showed and the pure heart was mesmerising. They defended with absolutely everything they had, and shut out Spain. Frankly, they didn't really give Spain many clear cut chances, besides Sarabia hitting the post in the 123rd minutes. They did an absolute job on them, and are into the quarter finals.

Spain will be so devastated. For all their passing football, they just lacked a cutting edge, which has been a common theme with them for years. When Morata came on, they looked sharper, but they just miss that little bit of class in the final third. But all credit has to go to Morocco, they defended immensely.

Penalties

Morocco 3-0 Spain: HAKIIIMMMIIIIIIIIIIIII DINKS IT DOWN THE MIDDLE! MOROCCO HAVE DONE IT! THEY HAVE KNOCKED OUT SPAIN!

Morocco 2-0 Spain: BONO, YOU HERO! BUSQUETS MISSES! A REALLY GREAT SAVE, HE JUMPS TO HIS RIGHT TO SAVE BUSQUETS' PENALTY!

Morocco 2-0 Spain: MISSES! BENOUN MISSES THE CHANCE TO GIVE MORROCO A BIG ADVANTAGE WITH A BAD PENALTY!

Morocco 2-0 Spain: SOLER MISSES! SOLER MISSES! TAME, TAME PENALTY! SLOW RUN UP, WEAK PENALTY, BONO WITH THE SAVE! MOROCCO IN DREAMLAND!

Morocco 2-0 Spain: ZIYECH THUMPS DOWN THE MIDDLE! ADVANTAGE MOROCCO!

Morocco 1-0 Spain: SARABIA MISSES! THE MAN WHO WAS BOUGHT ON FOR THE SHOOTOUT, HITS THE POST!

Morocco 1-0 Spain: Sabiri with a cool, cool penalty. Sends Simon the wrong way. Perfect start.

Morocco 0-0 Spain

And breathe. Sarabia was just inches away from securing a 123rd-minute winner there for Spain. But you know what, Morocco have defended supremely well against a probing Spanish side, and deserve a penalty shoot out. It has been a really enthralling game, and what a way to cap off a proper knockout match. After Japan's poor showing yesterday, can Morocco perform better today? Penalties coming up.

Statistics after extra time
Opta by StatsPerform

Extra Time

123': SARABIAAAAA NOOOOO! WITH SURELY THE LAST KICK OF THE GAME, SARABIA HAS VOLLEYED A STRIKE OFF THE POST, AFTER A GORGEOUS CROSS FROM RODRI! WHAT DRAMA. AND THAT IS THAT. WE ARE GOING TO PENALTY KICKS.

120': Ounahi comes off for Morocco, Badr Benoun on. Three added minutes.

119': Okay, Williams has come off for Spain after coming on in the second half. Clearly a decision with penalties in mind. Pablo Sarabia is on.

115': Cheddira with another chance on the counter, but he just can't get away from Rodri and Laporte. He had a chance to fire a shot away, but wasn't allowed to.

113': Lots of tired legs out there. But Morocco continue to battle with seven minutes left.

The final 15 minutes begins.

105': That's half time in extra time. My word, Spain have had all of the ball, but Morocco really should be ahead. They've had the best chances of the game. Incredible.

104': CHEDDIRA! NO! THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN 1-0 MOROCCO! HE FINDS SOME SPACE IN THE PENALTY AREA, THE GOAL IS AT HIS MERCY, BUT HE SHOOTS STRAIGHT AT SIMON! HE COULD HAVE HAD A BRACE! 

101': Spain knocking on the door a little more, with Morata's dynamism and their other fresh legs causing some issues.

98': Two subs for Spain. Alba and Olmo off, with Ansu Fati and Alejandro Balde on.

95': Oh my word, was Cheddira offside there?! If not, he has fluffed a huge, huge opportunity! The forward is played clean through on goal, but he absolutely scuffs his strike horrendously with just Simon to beat. The offside flag went up afterwards, but the replays suggest that it was so, so tight.

92': Remember, Morocco are allowed to make one more substitution in extra time, even though they used all five in the original 90 minutes.

90': We are off in extra time.

Morocco 0-0 Spain

Extra time beckons. Morocco have battled so valiantly, and defended for their lives. It's been such an interesting game, between two teams with contrasting styles. Spain were quite tame for large portions of the game, but the introduction of Morata and Williams added a lot more for them in the final third. Will one of them make the difference in extra time? 

Morocco vs Spain full time stats
Opta by StatsPerform

 

Second Half

95': Phew. It's going to extra time. A couple of chances at the end of the game, but Morocco hold out. What do we have in store next?

95': OLMO, BIG SAVE FROM BONO. His free kick is whipped in from distance, and it goes past everyone and nearly into the net.

92': OH, SIMON, MY GOD. THE GOALKEEPER SO NEARLY GIVES AWAY THE BALL WHEN PLAYING IT OUT FROM THE BACK IN A TREACHEROUS POSITION. Heart in mouth moment there for Spain.

91': Oooof, Morata heads over the bar. Not the easiest chance, but it was a really bad header. Should have kept it lower.

89': Williams has been a real livewire since he came on. His pace has caused the Moroccan defence some problems. Even Morata, who has given them a focal point.

85': Ah, that's another big blow for Morocco. Aguerd has been magnificent in defence for the Africans, but he is forced off with an injury. Jawad El Yamiq is on, with what is their final sub of the 90 minutes.

83': Triple sub for Morocco. En Nesyri, Amallah and Mazraoui off, Abdelhamid Sabiri, Walid Cheddira and Yahya Attiat-Allal on.

82': And Morata flashes a ball across goal. The striker gets in behind the defence, and from a very tight angle, he smashes the ball into the danger area, but no Spaniard gambled.

75': Morocco are so, so resolute at the back. They are just refusing to let Spain pass. Enrique is now making another change. Nico Williams is on, Torres off.

70': Spain have had 85% of the possession in the second half, but still haven't really produced any chances of note. Morocco are doing well to suffocate them.

67': That is such a shame. Boufal has been excellent all game, but he has to be taken off after picking up a knock. Big blow for Morocco. Ez Abde replaces him.

63': On come the cavalry for Spain. Alvaro Morata is introduced alongside Carlos Soler. Asensio and Gavi are off. 

55': The ball is laid off to Olmo from a free kick, and his powerful shot is punched away comfortably by the goalkeeper.

45': Okay, the second half begins. It's been a really intriguing game so far.

Half Time

As expected, Spain had far more possession than the Moroccans. But they have done pretty much nothing with it. They've been quite toothless, with Morocco very strong defensively, besides a few shaky moments when playing out from the back. In fact, the African outfit have created better chances on the break, with a lot of the good stuff coming from the brilliant Boufal. His cross set up Aguerd, who really should have done so much better with his header. Amrabat has been superb in midfield, as he has all tournament, and isn't allowing the Spanish midfielders to get anything going.

We will be back for the second half.

Morocco Spain half time stats
Opta by Stats Perform

First Half

46': And that's half time. Morocco will be very content with how those 45 minutes went.

45': One added minute. In this World Cup, that really showcases just how this first half has gone.

43': That's a really big chance for Morocco. Boufal whipped in a lovely cross to Aguerd, but his free header is over the bar. He really HAS to be hitting the target. Morocco causing issues from the left side on the counter attack.

36': The pattern of the games comes as absolutely no surprise whatsoever - Spain are having a lot more of the ball. However, the Moroccans have in fact had more shots: two to one.

Morocco Spain momentum
Opta by StatsPerform

33': Mazraoui hits a shot from long range, but it's straight at Simon who saves after initially spilling the ball.

25': Asensio fires a good chance into the side netting. A ball over the top sends the Real Madrid player through, but he smashes his shot wide from a bit of an angle. Should have hit it across goal there.

23': That's so naughty from Boufal. The winger is up against Llorente, and absolutely rinses the full back with a stunning piece of skill. No way I could not write about that.

17': Morocco very confident and comfortable so far. Every time Spain attempt to move the ball forward, the North Africans are all over them and up their intensity.

10': Steady start to the game as it settles into an expected pattern. Spain doing a lot of the passing, without any real intent as of yet, but Morocco are doing very well to steal the ball off them before they can do any damage in attacking areas. 

0': And the game gets underway. Hopefully it's a cracker.

The players are out. Anthems are being sung. It's nearly time for kick off.

Pre-Match

If you had any doubts at all about the style of football Luis Enrique wants his outfit to play, fielding seven midfielders in the side should remove any of those uncertainties. Two midfielders in defence (Llorente and Rodri), two midfielders in attack (Asensio and Olmo), alongside the three man midfield of Busquets, Pedri and Gavi very much conforms to the heavy possession-based style that Spain look to.

We have an 11Hacks data analysis looking at Spain's way of playing, which you can take a look at right here

Sofyan Amrabat has been one of the stars of the World Cup so far, and it'll be interesting to see how he fares against the supreme technical prowess and class of Spain's Barcelona trio in the middle of the park.

Team News

Morocco make just one change to their side from the game against Canada, with Selim Amallah starting in midfield in place of Abdelhamid Sabiri.

Spain return to their strongest XI after resting a few of their players in the Japan game. Marco Asensio starts up front yet again with Alvaro Morata dropping to the bench, while Aymeric Laporte returns the backline.

Interestingly, Marcos Llorente gets his first appearance of the World Cup at right back, with Dani Carvajal and Cesar Azpilicueta on the bench.

Morocco - Bono; Hakimi, Aguerd, Saiss, Mazraoui; Amrabat, Ounahi, Amallah; Ziyech, En Nesyri, Boufal.

Spain - Simon; Llorente, Rodri, Laporte, Alba; Busquets, Gavi, Pedri; Torres, Asensio, Olmo.

Introduction

We are into the final day of the round of 16 fixtures. The knockout stages have been pretty fun so far, but we are yet to see many really even contests - barring Japan vs Croatia. I have a feeling though, that both the matches today could provide us with just that.

We have got text commentary for you of Morocco vs Spain. History beckons for an impressive Moroccan team, who finished top of a group with Croatia and Belgium in it. They have never won a knockout game at the World Cup before, but they will most definitely fancy their chances against a Spain side who have some clear weaknesses in attack and defence, despite their phenomenal young talent.