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Morocco knocks Spain out from the World Cup

Morocco became the fourth African team to reach the FIFA World Cup quarterfinals after beating Spain on penalties.

Spain returned Aymeric Laporte, Marcos Llorent, and Jordi Alba, while Morocco made one change from the victory against Canada. Selim Amallah replaced Abdelhamid Sabiri in midfield.

Hakim Ziyech burst down the right flank and fired wide of Unai Simon’s goal in the sixth minute as Morocco attempted to get off to a quick start.

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Spain took some time to get going, with their first opportunity coming after 26 minutes when Jordi Alba delivered a ball over the top for Marco Asensio, whose volley hit the side netting.

Sofiane Boufal lost his defender and delivered a cross into the box that was met by Nayef Aguerd, who missed the goal from close range shortly before the halftime break.

In the first 10 minutes of the second half, Spain had only managed one shot against the North African giants, a trend that did not seem to be reversing.

Luis Enrique decided to remedy the situation by substituting Alvaro Morata and Carlos Soler for Marco Asensio and Gavi, while Morocco replaced Boufal with Abdessamad Ezzalzouli just after the hour mark.

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Despite the substitutions made by both teams, clear-cut opportunities were few on both sides, as Spain maintained the majority of possession without testing Yassine Bounou, the Moroccan goalkeeper.

This tendency continued throughout the entirety of the second half, necessitating an additional 30 minutes of extra-time competition.

Walid Cheddira failed to beat Simon in a one-on-one opportunity after he was sent through on goal by Azzedine Ounahi at the conclusion of the first half of extra time.

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Despite opportunities for Cheddira and Alvaro Morata, neither team was able to strike the back of the goal in the second half of extra time.

The game proceeded to a penalty shootout, where the Atlas Lions maintained their composure to win 3-0 and progress to the quarterfinals, while Spain missed all of their attempts.

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