Monday, July 15, 2024
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Morocco knock out Spain to reach World Cup quarter-finals

Morocco stunned Spain to reach the World Cup quarterfinals with right-back Achraf Hakimi scoring the decisive spot kick in a penalty shootout following a 0-0 draw at Education City.

Paris Saint-Germain defender Hakimi scored with a Panenka penalty after Spain missed three spot-kicks and exited with a 3-0 shootout defeat. And Morocco made history by reaching their first quarterfinal and also becoming the fourth African nation to progress to that stage of the tournament.

Morocco will play a World Cup quarterfinal for the first time after eliminating 2010 world champions Spain at Education City. And the so-called Atlas Lions are now one step from making history as the first African nation to reach the semifinals by beating either Portugal or Switzerland in Saturday’s last-eight tie.

Coach Walid Regragui’s team went into this game having conceded just one goal — an own goal — in the tournament and their defensive organisation was crucial in overcoming Luis Enrique’s team. Morocco rarely looked troubled by Spain, but their inability to score themselves during normal time and extra time meant that the game went to penalties.

And that’s where goalkeeper Yassine Bounou emerged as a national star by saving penalties from Sergio Busquets and Carlos Soler, as well as seeing Pablo Sarabia hit a post, as Spain suffered the ignominy of losing a penalty shootout without scoring a single one of their spot kicks. The defeat means Spain have now lost four of their five World Cup penalty shootouts.

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