World Cup 2022 Morocco wins the battle royal against Spain


 The Atlas Lions suffered but they snatched the decision at the end of the suspense (0-0, 3-0 t.a.b), and reach the quarterfinals for the first time in their history.

Morocco believed in it until the end, and Morocco has its greatest achievement in the World Cup. The Atlas Lions eliminated, after the penalty shootout, Spain in the eighth final of the World Cup, Tuesday, December 6 (0-0, 3-0 t.a.b). Logically dominated in the game (77% possession for Spain) but far from being amorphous, Morocco never let itself be lulled to sleep by La Roja's passing game, and it was he who finally had the last word.

It was at the end of the cruel penalty shootout, where current Parisians Pablo Sarabia and Carlos Soler, as well as Sergio Busquets, failed. By reaching the quarter-finals, the Atlas Lions achieved the best run in their history in the World Cup, their best performance remained in the eighth final, in 1986.

We imagined that against Morocco, qualified almost surprise for these knockout rounds, La Roja would not denigrate its usual game plan. With a huge but totally sterile possession (1019 passes to 304), the Spaniards did not deviate from their principles: the Sky and White, for the occasion, held the ball, but did not do much (no shot framed in the first half). Unlike the Atlas Lions, stifled but more dangerous by Noussair Mazraoui (33rd) and Nayef Aguerd (43rd) and in particular the Angevin Sofiane Boufal, untenable.

La Roja, talent but no ideas

More and more on the retreat, the Moroccans took advantage of the Spanish offensive inertia to then proceed against as much as they could, content to defend en bloc in order to disgust the rare inspirations of the Roja. In extra time, Morocco, on the kneecaps physically, suffered the Spanish siege even more than in regulation time. Without further inspiration, the Spaniards again turned around Bounou's goal, and it was even the Moroccans who created a huge opportunity through Walid Cheddira, who lost his duel to Unai Simon (104th).

Despite a final scare, the Moroccans finally snatched the precious penalty shootout. And it was a one-way street. Against Yassine Bounou, a specialist in the exercise, Pablo Sarabia, Carlos Soler, and Sergio Busquets stammered, each missing their attempt (two saves, a post). Badr Benoun's misfire was inconsequential, Achraf Hakimi capsizing his family with happiness on a Panenka that offered the first quarter of its history to Morocco.

"Tactically we held on, on penalties, we knew we had one of the best in the world. We are making history, it is for the Moroccan people, I am happy," Moroccan coach Walid Regragui told BeIn Sports at the end of the match. "At some point in Africa, we have to be ambitious. We have a heart, energy, and love, when there is all that, we win games! It's historic for Morocco and for Africa," he concludes, relayed by Sofiane Boufal: "It's a crazy thing. We just wrote history, the emotions we experienced are incredible. This victory belongs to the fans and the Moroccan people," said the euphoric Moroccan winger.