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Morocco make history crashing Spain out to reach their first World Cup quarterfinals

Morocco knocked Spain out of the World Cup in a last-16 penalty shootout on Tuesday with Spanish-born Achraf Hakimi scoring the decisive spot-kick after Spain squandered all three of their attempts, following a 0-0 draw over 120 minutes.  

Paris-Saint-Germain defender Hakimi scored with a Panenka penalty after Spain missed three spot-kicks and exited with a 3-0 shootout defeat. And Morocco made history by reaching their first quarterfinal and also becoming the first Arab nation to progress to that stage of the tournament.

In the knockout stage of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Morocco and Spain had a defensive face off in the first half as both teams got shots on goal but none of them went through. Followed an even more defensive struggle in second half, with both teams managing to hold each other in check and heading to extra time at 0-0. While both teams had multiple chances on goal, no-one scored. That’s where both teams kicked in for PKs.

Morocco’s Goalkeeper Yassine Bono would block three Spanish chances and Morocco would win in PKs. Achraf Hakimi struck the decisive penalty to send Spain crashing out and Morocco into the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time, winning 3-0 in a shoot-out on Tuesday after a 0-0 draw.

After Achraf Hakimi scored the winning penalty, Moroccan fans were jubilant beyond words, hugging and jumping with friends and family.

“I can’t believe it. This is one of the greatest moments in my life,” 27-year-old Amal Galidi told Al Jazeera. The Fez resident said both “Arabs and  Africans” will be the “happiest people today”. “God has listened to our prayers,” he proclaimed.

Outside the stadium, hundreds gathered to sing football and national chants, posing gleefully for the cameras and in no mood to leave. The match felt like a home game for the Atlas Lions, with their supporters overwhelmingly outnumbering the Spanish fans.

Anass Boumlek, 26, from Marrakech, said he was “very, very happy”, adding that the victory “belongs to everyone” involved.

“The fans in the stands, the coaches, the players and all the staff, this belongs to everyone,” he said. “We are giving this win to everyone … all the Arabs, Africans and all the other nationalities that supported us

Zahra Sikandar
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