Morocco just pulled what was arguably the upset of the tournament after taking down Spain in stunning fashion on Tuesday. The round of 16 match went into penalties after both teams were unable to find the net in regulation and in extra time. It was Morocco that was more decisive with their penalties, however, scoring three out of their four attempts from the spot. Morocco did not even have to take their fifth pen, with the Spanish missing all three of their first attempts in what turned out to be a heartbreaking loss for the 2010 champions.
Morocco’s progression to the next round allowed this side to make some never-before-seen history in the World Cup. Morocco is now the first Arab nation to qualify for the quarterfinal and only the fourth African side to ever do the same. Regardless if Morocco lose in the quarterfinals, they have now surpassed their previous best World Cup finish which was a round of 16 exit at Mexico 1986.
“We honored Arab and African football. Coach [Walid] Regragui gave us the confidence that we needed in this game, a big boost in morale,” Morocco defender Jawad El Yamiq told beIN Sports after the match, via ESPN.
“We knew that Spain depended on their ball possession and we played with that in mind. They didn’t impose any danger.”
Midfielder Azzedine Ounahi echoed his teammate’s sentiments as he sent a special shoutout to their supporters following their hard-earned win:
“Right now is a special moment for all Africa, for all the Arab countries, for all the Muslims around this world,” Ounahi said. “You try to make them happy, try to make ourselves happy. And I think it goes quite well.”
After their historic victory, Morocco is now set to face another tough test in the quarterfinals against Portugal, who themselves also progressed after a 6-1 thrashing of Switzerland on Tuesday.