Spain under fire for ‘terrible’ scenes in Morocco defeat

Spain were stunned by Morocco in stunning scenes at the World Cup. Image: Getty

Spain were devastated for their ‘terrible’ penalties after a Shock defeat against Morocco in the round of 16 In the FIFA World Cup. Since the score was still 0-0 after the regulations and extra time, the game was decided on penalties.

And it was Morocco, who kept their nerve against the football heavyweights of Spain and won the penalty shoot-out 3-0. Pablo Sarabia, Carlos Soler and Sergio Busquets all missed their penalties for Spain, with Sarabia hitting the post and Morocco keeper Bono making two saves.

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It is the third major tournament in a row that Spain have been eliminated on penalties after the 2018 World Cup and Euro 2021. As for Morocco, the North African nation is now the first Arab country ever to reach the last eight of the World Cup finals.

“We couldn’t score…no matter how much we say we deserved to win…it won’t change anything,” said Spain goalkeeper Unai Simon. “All we have to do is accept that we’re eliminated.”

Morocco's players and officials, pictured here, celebrate after beating Spain at the World Cup.

Morocco’s players and officials celebrate after beating Spain at the World Cup. (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP via Getty Images)

Spain coach Luis Enrique added: “We completely dominated the game. It’s a shame it went like this.

“It’s my responsibility. I chose the first three penalty takers and then they could decide for themselves. But the first three were my choice and I would have done it again. The only thing I wished for was to knock out Bounou and put another goalie there.

Morocco have been the first African team to reach the quarter-finals since Ghana at the 2010 World Cup, following only Senegal in 2002 and Cameroon in 1990.

“We fought and made the Moroccan people happy,” said coach Walid Regragui. “We made history and Morocco deserved it. The Moroccan people united us on the pitch.”

Moroccan fans, here in disbelief after defeating Spain at the World Cup.

Moroccan fans were left in disbelief after their victory over Spain at the World Cup. Image: Getty

Moroccan defender Jawad Yamiq said: “We honored Arab and African football, coach Regragui gave us the confidence we needed in this game, a big morale boost. We knew Spain depended on possession and we toyed with that idea . You have imposed no danger.”

Spain’s defeat is their fifth straight overtime in a knockout round of a major tournament. They played 120 minutes against Russia in 2018 and in all three knockout games at Euro.

The Moroccan fans were sent into an absolute frenzy over the shock win while the Spaniards regretted their miserable shootout. Fans and commentators described their penalty attempts as “terrible” and “shocking”.

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Morocco is the only nation outside the usual Europe-South American axis to have dominated the World Cup in its 92-year history and remained in Qatar. They were heavily supported on the ground, their tenacious and disciplined defense being cheered on by the locals while Spain’s passing carousel was whistled non-stop.

Spain had not scored in any of their last 24 games dating back to June 2021. However, the 90 minutes ended goalless and extra time ensued. Spain’s greatest chance came with the very last shot in extra time when Pablo Sarabia, who came on as a substitute in the 119th minute, hit the post from a tight angle.

A few minutes later, Sarabia hit the far post and marked the Spaniards’ first missed penalty. Bono then made saves from Soler and Busquets before Achraf Hakimi propelled Morocco into the quarters.

“Now the most important thing is the team and not me, it’s a difficult night and we have to get up and take advantage of this experience, there are very young people who will be very useful and we have to keep going,” said Busquets. “It was a shame, penalties were decided in the most cruel way. It was complicated, we tried to wear them down, turn them around, find space. We were unlucky with the last pass.”

with agencies

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