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Morocco sends wasteful Spain out of the world Cup on penalties

Morocco today sent wasteful Spain out of the World Cup on penalties having played 120 minutes goalless. The teams resorted to penalty shoot outs and Morocco had the day on 3:0 aggregate.

Spain with over 70% ball possession, 961 ball passes, 6 corner kicks (Morocco had none) in addition to their World Class Players and past world Cup glory, lacked creativity to break the Moroccan defense. The Spanish players were wasteful in their passes and had very few attempts at goal, in fact only one attempt at goal.

The Moroccans played to their strengths throughout the 120 minutes as their defense is their key strength. The game’s trend was clear from the opening whistle, with Spain controlling possession but struggling to break past a well-organized Moroccan defense. Aside from Marco Asensio’s drive into the side netting, Luis Enrique’s team controlled about 70% of the ball possessions. However, despite the flag being up, Gavi and Ferran Torres were both denied by superb stops by the Moroccans.

Unai Simon was stung by Noussair Mazraoui’s powerful long-range drive, and Nayef Aguerd, who was unmarked at the far post, missed a fantastic opportunity that had been set up by Sofiane Boufal’s deception. It was evident that Morocco’s game strategy was to withstand pressure and try to strike on the break.

The La Furia Roja of Spain (or The Red Fury, the name of the Spanish National Team) lost their first three penalty kicks as they continued their wasteful play into the penalty shootout while Atlas Lions of Morocco (the name of the National Team of Morocco) scored three out of their four kicks making the last kick unnecessary. The Moroccan goal keeper proved to be the hero of the day as he saved the Spanish penalty shoots

Morocco, the last African team standing at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, now progresses into the quarterfinals and will face either Portugal or Switzerland. They are the first African team to win penalty shoot outs in the World Cup tournament and the first African team to reach the quarterfinals in 12 years.

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