Morocco Stuns Spain To Qualify For The Quarter Finals

In what marked the 4th time Spain has ever played Morocco in the World Cup, the North African side stunned and knocked out former champions Spain. In a match that saw Morocco become the first African team to win a penalty shootout at the World Cup, they secured their spot in the quarter-finals for the first time in their history. The last time an African country made it to the quarter-finals was in 2010, when Ghana lost to Uruguay. After that, no African side has ever made it past the quarter-finals. If you want to know about Croatia Vs Brazil Quarter Final, click here.

Goal-less After 120 minutes

Going into their round of 16 matchup, Morocco, who are yet to be scored, had proven capable of defending effectively. Spain dominated possession in the opening 45 minutes, but Morocco looked the more dangerous on the offense. Having the first shot of the match, Achraf Hakimi curling a free-kick over the bar.

Noussair Mazraoui forced Simon into a save before Sofiane Boufal later made a dangerous cross from the left, giving Nayef Aguerd a chance to score, but the West Ham defender headed the ball wide. Spain’s conjured only one scoring opportunity in the first half when Asensio broke free of the Moroccan defense but ended up slamming the side of the net from a tight angle.

With Morocco having just one shot in the second half, goalie Yassine Bounou pushed away Dani Olmo’s powerful effort before Alvaro Morata missed the target narrowly with a header. In extra time, Spanish goalkeeper Simon made a point-blank save to deny Morocco, who moments later came close to scoring but ended up hitting the post to send the match to penalties. Spain struggled from the spot, failing to score any of their three penalties.

Pablo Sarabia hit the post with Bounou saving spot-kicks from Carlos Soler and Sergio Busquets. Morocco was precise from the spot, with Simon saving only Benoun’s effort. Masterful strikes from Sabiri, Hakim Ziyech, and a chip from Achraf Hakimi sent the North African side through. They remain unbeaten in the World Cup and their last seven games.

Hero Goalie

Despite having faced seasoned goals-scorers throughout the Qatar World Cup, Moroccan goalkeeper Yassine Bounou is yet to concede any goal. Although so far in the tournament, the only team with a goal against Morocco is Canada, Nayef Aguerd scored an own goal in their 2-1 victory.

In their round of 16 matches against Spain, Bounou did well to deny all of Spain’s attempts at the goal; however, in the penalty shootouts, he took on a hero’s form. Yassine is now tied with England’s Jordan Pickford for the cleanest sheets at this tournament with three.

Does Bounou have a shot at the golden glove with Morocco now headed to the quarter-finals?

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