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Spain vs Morocco: Talking points from the Spaniards' disappointing exit from the world cup

The majority of the first half's possession went to Spain, but they were unable to break through a resolute Moroccan defence.

Morocco players celebrate with their coach. (Image: Twitter/FIFA World Cup)
By Nilavro Ghosh | Dec 7, 2022 | 2 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

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Morocco shocked Spain by defeating them in a penalty shootout to advance to the World Cup quarterfinals following Tuesday’s goalless draw. The majority of the first half’s possession went to Spain, but they were unable to break through a resolute Moroccan defence. Nayef Aguerd of Morocco missed a close-range header opportunity that would have been the best of the half. Even though the 2010 World Cup champions controlled more than 75% of the ball and made nearly 800 passes, they were unable to move the ball during the course of 90 minutes, which led to overtime. Although Morocco had the better opportunities, they failed to capitalise on two one-on-one chances, which tied the game and necessitated a penalty shootout.

While Spain had previously participated in five shootouts, this was Morocco’s first shootout at a World Cup finals. However, Moroccan goalkeeper Yassine Bounou emerged as a hero by saving Spain’s second and third attempts to help the North African team to a 3-0 victory. Morocco has thus made history by reaching the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time. They will face the winner of Portugal’s later-on Tuesday match against Switzerland there. For the fourth time overall, Spain was eliminated from the World Cup on penalties after losing two straight.

Here are some of the talking points from the match.

Morocco’s defense rock solid

If there is one thing the African nation should be praised for, it is their unyielding and resolute defense. The Spaniards threw everything at them for 120 minutes but the Moroccans stood their ground and refused to let a single shot into the back of their net. Walid Redragui’s men played a strategy that saw them utilize the low block as Spain is a passing team, and that worked a treat. All in all, it was arguably the strongest defensive performance so far in the competition.

Yassine Bounou the hero

This was Morocco’s first shootout at a World Cup finals, compared to Spain’s five prior shootout appearances. By blocking Spain’s second and third attempts, Moroccan goalkeeper Yassine Bounou emerged as a hero and helped the North African team win 3-0. Thus, Morocco’s first-ever World Cup quarterfinal appearance has made history. Bounou will go down in Moroccan folklore as he led his team to a new chapter in his country’s history.

Spain wasteful with the ball

The majority of the first half’s possession went to Spain, but they were unable to break through a resolute Moroccan defence. Nayef Aguerd of Morocco missed a close-range header opportunity that would have been the best of the half. Even though the 2010 World Cup champions controlled more than 75% of the ball and made nearly 800 passes, they were unable to move the ball during the course of 90 minutes, which led to overtime.



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