Home Sports Morocco-Spain 3-0 after penalties, Africans in the quarterfinals

Morocco-Spain 3-0 after penalties, Africans in the quarterfinals

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Morocco-Spain 3-0 after penalties, Africans in the quarterfinals

The penalties were still decisive, after the very balanced 120′ ended 0-0. Luis Enrique’s national team misses three penalties with Sarabia, Soler and Busquets

by our correspondent Filippo Maria Ricci

Historic Morocco. At the end of a game engulfed without much sense by Spain thanks to the hands of Bounou and the coldness of Hakimi, the Atlas Lions conquered the quarter-finals of the World Cup for the first time. It took penalties: Spain missed all three, Morocco scored 3 out of 4. And become the fourth African nation to finish in the top 8 in the world after Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002) and Ghana (2010). Now he’s waiting for the winner of Portugal-Switzerland, but the party is incredible, as is the feat. For Spain the same fate as 4 years ago, when the team then in the hands of Fernando Hierro was eliminated in the round of 16 by Russia after making a useless passing record.


Too many passes of Spain even today, most of them useless. Great heart of Morocco, commendably represented by the Viola Amrabat and the central couple Saiss-Aguerd. Few emotions, equally divided between the two teams. With a final blaze, the post hit by Sarabia in the last breath before penalties. A long game, as usual lately when La Roja is involved. Luis Enrique’s Spain reached extra time in the round of 16, quarterfinals and semifinals of the last European Championship. And it stayed in between.


Llorente’s choice is a disaster: the Atletico player is not a full-back, and with Boufal he suffers like hell. In general it is Spain that doesn’t turn: the usual countless horizontal touches, but the ball remains very far from the area. Morocco waits patiently, protected by a great Amrabat, and restarts quickly: almost always with Boufal, occasionally with Ziyech. Spain improved when Luis Enrique reversed Gavi and Pedri, but the first half ended with 350 passes and no shots on Spain’s target as Asensio’s effort hit the outside of the net. That’s enough. Morocco is definitely more dangerous, Mazraoui commits Unai Simon with a left footed shot from the edge, Aguerd heads out an invitation from the usual Boufal.


Spain’s first shot on target came in the 55th minute, Bounou punching Dani Olmo’s right-footed shot, and in the 63rd minute Luis Enrique introduced Morata for Asensio and Marcos Soler for the very generous Gavi. Regragui responded by surprisingly removing Boufal by putting in Abde, Barcelona’s canterano on loan to Osasuna, who disappeared from the World Cup. Then Nico Williams also came on for Ferran Torres, and we’re making changes because nothing happens on the pitch. Spain holds the ball without doing anything about it, Morocco leaves it to them without worries. The entry of Nico Williams and the awakening of Dani Olmo rekindle the Spanish fire, also because Morocco has given up on playing. Carlos Soler puts the decisive ball on Morata’s head, but Alvaro wastes it. Unavoidable extras.

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That Morocco plays with Cheddira: the Bari centre-forward made his debut in the World Cup, replacing the bad En-Nesyri. And in the 104th minute Cheddira served by the magnificent Ounhai, had the winning ball but wasted it by firing a blank left foot that a terrified Unai Simon rejected with his right foot. And then it repeated itself.


And in the last action of the match, in the 123rd minute, Sarabia, who entered in a somewhat cruel way for the excellent Nico Williams in view of the penalties, chipped the post to the right of Bounou by volleying a cross from Rodri.


Unai Simon and Bounou go together embracing towards the goal chosen for the 11-metre shots, chatting amiably. Then their paths diverge. The Dorian Sabiri starts, goal. Sanabria, entered to score the penalty: post. Ziyech: winning stone. Carlos Soler: saved. Benoun, put in at the end for the excellent Ounhai: saved. Busquets: saved by the incredible Bounou. Hakimi from Madrid for the matchpoint: dirty but winning spoon, Spain at home. Morocco historically in the quarterfinals. Now the party begins, let’s hope that nothing happens in Spain: the police were on alert, the racist Ultras threatened punitive patrols.

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