World Cup score: Spain eliminated as Morocco advance to quarterfinal thanks to Yassin Bounou’s penalty heroics

Morocco are in the FIFA 2022 World Cup quarterfinals after a 3-0 penalty shootout win over Spain at Education City Stadium on Tuesday. After 120 minutes of pretty tough football, the Atlas Lions won from the spot thanks to Yassin Bounou’s heroics. Substitute pair Pablo Sarabia and Carlos Soler were both thwarted from the spot as captain. Sergio Busquets at the end of a draining encounter.

The first half started in an atmosphere created by a majority Moroccan crowd at Education City Stadium and Walid Regragui’s men were motivated and immediately in La Roja. Achraf Hakimi curled a free kick narrowly over despite the Spanish enjoying around 80% of the ball in the early stages.

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The closest it came to a first half goal at Al Rayyan came when Gavi’s effort was deflected onto the woodwork and Ferran Torres was unable to follow up. However, the flag was up and it wouldn’t have counted anyway and Marco Asensio wasted another chance minutes later.

Nayef Aguerd and Noussair Mazraoui tried to break the deadlock before the break but were unable to find a way past Unai Simon. Bounou was also smart as he kept out Dani Olmo just before half time.

Alvaro Morata was sent on for the final 30 minutes in search of a goal but he and his Spanish teammates were unable to get much going in AL Rayyan. Agerd was forced off and replaced by Jawad El Yamiq but it didn’t make the Moroccans any less tough at the back.

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Hakimi and Sofyan Amrabat helped the North Africans hold on at the end of the 90 minutes before Olmo wasted a good late chance after Pedri set him up. Nothing could separate the two sides so it went to extra time.

Simon came close to giving Morocco a goal that would have been decisive at the moment but he made up for it with a brilliant save that effectively sent the game to penalties. Pablo Sarabia came on and hit the post at the death, but it was not enough and it went down to the spot.

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That’s when Bounou made Moroccan football history with three saves to deny Sarabia, Carlos Soler and Sergio Busquets just the day after Dominik Livakovic made a trio of saves to help Croatia advance. Simon denied Badr Benoun, but it didn’t matter and it was fitting that Hakimi stepped up to score against his nation of birth.

Lus Enrique’s Spain have only themselves to blame after their fast start against Costa Rica with a draw against Germany and a loss to Japan putting a swift end to their prolific promise and leaving them in underwhelming fashion.



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