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Morocco Stunned Spain By Shutting Them Out In Penalty Kicks To Advance To The World Cup Quarterfinals

Morocco entered Tuesday’s Round of 16 game as considerable underdogs to Spain, which was among the favorites to lift the cup later this month, but despite Spain controlling 77 percent of possession in the game, completing more than 1,000 passes, and out-shooting Morocco 13-6 (albeit just one on target), the two sides couldn’t decide the game in the first 90 minutes.

In extra time, Spain came close on a few occasions, but could not find the back of the net as Morocco always had an answer on defense (or a little luck with the post).

As such, the game moved to penalty kicks, where Spain’s advantage as a dominant possession team is negated and it came down to finishing and goalkeeping — with Morocco quickly showing its class in both areas.

In the first round, Abdelhamid Sabiri stepped up and slotted the first penalty to the right while Unai Simon dove left, which Pablo Sarabia followed up by rattling the post for a miss.

In the second round, Morocco again drilled the back of the net as Hakim Ziyech went hard and down the middle, while Yassine Bono came up with a huge save to extend the Moroccan advantage to 2-0.

Spain briefly had life after a save by Simon to start the third round, as the Spanish keeper was able to open the door slightly by saving the third of Morocco’s attempts. But again, Bono came up with a massive save, going to his right to stop Sergio Busquets’ attempt to blank Spain at 0-for-3.

Achraf Hakimi then stepped to the spot with a chance to win the match, and delivered an unbelievable panenka, chipping the ball right down the middle as Simon dove to his right in vain.

It was a stunning result for Morocco, which defended unbelievably against Spain, allowing the Spaniards to have all the possession they wanted but denying them every time they put a ball into the box. On the other end, they had a few opportunities of their own and while they couldn’t capitalize in regulation or extra time, they were undoubtedly the better and more composed side during penalties and now move on to the quarterfinals in a result that will shock this tournament.