After a scoreless draw, Morocco shocked Spain in a penalty shootout to advance to the World Cup quarterfinals. Achraf Hakimi was the hero with a chipped penalty.
Following a 120-minute draw between the two teams, PSG’s Hakimi scored a nerveless “Panenka” to seal the victory. Spain had missed all three of their penalties, with goalkeeper Yaccine Bounou saving two of them, and the celebrations were wild.
Although the North African team’s supporters had been vocal the whole match, the atmosphere in the stands did not reflect the stalemate on the field.
Few clear-cut chances were produced as Morocco sat back and filled in the gaps as Spain hogged the ball.
Dani Olmo’s arrowed shot from the angle that Bounou deflected away was the closest Luis Enrique’s team came to scoring. Later, the goalie again did an outstanding job to stop Olmo’s dangerous free-kick.
The solitary shot on goal for Morocco in the opening stanza came from Noussair Mazraoui’s long-range effort, which Unai Simon collected. Morocco was playing on the counter and should have scored but Nayef Aguerd missed the target with an uncontested header.
The game entered extra time because the teams could not be separated. Substitute Walid Cheddira had Morocco’s finest opportunity, but he squandered his shot straight at Simon from eight yards out.
The game saw Spain complete nearly 1,000 passes, and in the 123rd minute, Pablo Sarabia’s volley agonisingly flicked the outside of the far post.
Morocco fans, who predominately filled Education City Stadium, went crazy at the final horn as their team advanced to the round of eight for the first time, where they will take on Portugal or Switzerland on Saturday (15:00 GMT).