History for Morocco! Blow Spain away to Roar into Quarter finals

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Morocco made history as they defeated Spain in the round of 16 game at the FIFA World Cup on Tuesday.

The game ended goalless in 120 minutes, but was decided on penalties and Morocco won 3-0 to join an elite league with Cameroon, Senegal and Ghana as the only African teams to reach the quarter-final.

It was a real test of character for the Moroccans, as they were forced to work for the win.

Spain expectedly dominated proceedings and even completed a total of 975 passes after attempting 1050 and bagged 77 percent of the ball possession, but all this stats meant very little as Morocco played compact and patiently waited to threaten on the counter.

The game was open and Luis Enrique would have rued his choice of not starting with a center forward in Alvaro Morata, instead opting for Asensio upfront.

For all their good works La Roja played without direction and couldn’t really threaten the African side as they struggled to find the final pass.

The instructions from Walid Regragui was for his boys to contain Spain and only press when the Spaniards had the ball in the second third of the pitch.

Morocco also looked very threatening on the counter and would have deservedly taken the lead, but for some poor decision making in the final third.

The game followed the same pattern in the second half which saw Spain dominate possession while Morocco tried to hit them on the counter and after they couldn’t be separated in regular time.

In extra time, credit should not only go to the Moroccan players for the valor and spirit they showed but also to the bench as Walid Regragui was able to manage the game and knew exactly when to freshen things up with his smart substitutions.

When the game proceeded to shootouts, Spain lost 3-0 on penalty, and became the second side to lose a penalty shootout without scoring a goal after Switzerland did so against Ukraine in 2006.

It wouldn’t have come as a shock to some given that Spain have now lost four of their last five penalty shootouts at the FIFA World Cup more than any other team in history.

This is the second time Spain has lost to an African opposition after losing 3-2 against Nigeria in 1998 and guess what? Luis Enrique started that encounter as a player – déjà vu.

Morocco have also beaten Spain, the fourth time of asking, and as the record keeps crumbling down, Walid Regragui now stands in a league of his own as the first African Manager to take a team to the Quarter finals of the tournament.

Yassine Bounou was the hero on the night as the Sevilla Goal keeper saved Sergio Busquet and Carlos Soler’s spot kicks, while Pablo Sarabia saw his effort come off the upright.

Morocco are still Unbeaten in this tournament and have equaled Cameroon’s World Cup record, going five games unbeaten.

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