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Morocco shock Spain to seal last eight spot in 2022 FIFA World Cup

After a goal-less 120 minutes, the round of 16 game between Spain and Morocco went into penalties, with the African nation emerging victorious 3-0 on penalties to reach their first ever World Cup quarter-finals.

Luis Enrique’s side were stifled by a spirited Moroccan side that came into the game fully prepared to take the game to the Spaniards. The second RO16 match to go to penalties this tournament, the tightly contested affair saw Carlos Soler, Sergio Busquets and Pablo Sarabia miss penalties for La Roja.

Morocco, led by captain Roman Saiss, remained organised for the entirety of 120 minutes to shut out multiple attempts on goal from Alvaro Morata, Pablo Sarabia and the heavily stacked Spain forward line.

Skillful penalties from Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech and Paris’ star wing-back Achraf Hakimi saw the Atlas Lions seal their passage to the final eight of the tournament. Hakimi took Morocco’s third and final penalty to confirm the win, choosing to chip the ball down the middle of Unai Simon’s goal with a calm that belied the high stakes of the situation.
Morocco have emerged as the dark horses in Qatar, having maintained their unbeaten run in the tournament with this win over Spain. The Atlas Lions topped their group, beating the likes of Canada and Belgium to set up the Spain tie.

The African nation will face one of Portugal or Switzerland in their next match, with that game set to be played in an hour’s time.

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