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2022 World Cup

Morocco knock Spain out of the World Cup



Morocco goalkeeper Yassine Bounou

Morocco dumped Spain out of the World Cup in a last-16 penalty shootout on Tuesday with Spanish-born Achraf Hakimi scoring the decisive spot-kick after Spain squandered all three of their attempts, following a 0-0 draw over 120 minutes.

Hakimi, a product of the Real Madrid youth system, calmly slotted his penalty past Unai Simon in Spain’s goal to seal Morocco’s 3-0 win in the shootout.

During the 90 minutes plus extra time, Spain dominated possession but failed to create many clear chances against Morocco’s stubborn defence.

Morocco advanced to a quarter-final clash with either Portugal or Switzerland who meet later on Tuesday.


Morocco march on

It was a cauldron of noise inside the stadium from kick-off as Morocco fans vastly outnumbered their Spanish counterparts and it was the ‘Maghreb’ who were left celebrating at the final whistle.

Morocco become just the fourth African side to reach the quarter-finals at a World Cup, matching the achievements of Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002) and Ghana (2010).

Their supporters sang, chanted and banged their drums for the entire 120 minutes, with loud piercing whistles ringing around every time Spain were on the ball.


And Sevilla goalkeeper Bounou seemed to feed of that energy, saving penalty efforts from Carlos Soler and Sergio Busquets, while Sarabia struck the post.

Star player Hakimi stepped up and was the coolest man under the most intense pressure, dinking his penalty – a ‘Panenka’ – straight down the middle as Morocco surged into the quarters.

Morocco's winning penalty

Unai Simon was left watching Achraf Hakimi’s nerveless penalty

Players ran around the pitch in a daze, manager Walid Regragui had his head in his hands in disbelief at what he had just witnessed, before they lay prostrate on the turf and then jumped up and down in front of supporters.

Morocco’s only previous appearance in the last 16 came in 1986, but they have now extended their unbeaten run in the World Cup to five games and kept a clean sheet in six out of their last seven in all competitions.

For 2010 winners Spain, their campaign ends in misery after such an optimistic start when they hammered Costa Rica 7-0 in their opening game.


They tried to pass Morocco into submission but the opposition held firm, the favourites having just one shot on target from their 1,019 passes.

Enrique had said his side needed to do their homework on penalties, practising over 1,000 in training in the lead-up to the match, but they will need to go back to the drawing board after missing all of their spot-kicks.

It is Spain’s second successive exit by penalties at the last-16 stage of a World Cup, having also lost to Russia in 2018.

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