Morocco vs Spain, World Cup 2022 result: Spanish tears after shock Morocco penalty shootout win

Morocco are the fourth African team to reach the World Cup quarter-finals - Juan Luis Díaz /Getty Images
Morocco are the fourth African team to reach the World Cup quarter-finals - Juan Luis Díaz /Getty Images

Morocco 0 Spain 0; Morocco win 3-0 on penalties

By Oliver Brown at Education City Stadium

The whistling was so shrill, so unrelenting, it sounded like the noise of a thousand locomotives. Heaven knows how Spain’s three luckless penalty-takers, confronting this cacophonous wall of sound, even kicked the ball at all. In the end, Pablo Sarabia, Carlos Soler and Sergio Busquets all quailed in the face of the sonic onslaught, meek bystanders to the greatest moment in Morocco’s sporting history.

Here on the western extremities of Doha, it felt, amid a carnival of red and green, as if we had been teleported to the wildest night in downtown Casablanca.

For a World Cup often derided as inauthentic, this was a raw, broiling, unforgettable denouement. Achraf Hakimi was the hero of the hour, approaching the decisive penalty with a casual stroll, dinking it beyond a stricken Unai Simon. It was an act of supreme nonchalance by a player born in Madrid, sending the country of his birth out of the World Cup. He seemed insouciant, a man impervious to pressure, smiling at his feat as his team-mates rushed to engulf him and as thousands behind the goal erupted in pure delirium.

The significance of this result to the tournament cannot be overstated. It is not just that Spain, champions in 2010, have been ejected before the quarter-finals for the third successive occasion, but that Morocco have ensured the Arab world’s representation in the last eight at the region’s first World Cup. “I am not here to be a politician,” Walid Regragui, their head coach, has said. No, but their players clearly are. Within moments of Hakimi’s masterstroke, they unfurled a giant Palestinian flag on the pitch.

So overwhelming was the joy, Morocco’s press conference was less an interrogation than a lachrymose tribute night. “I don’t have a question,” admitted one of their reporters to Bono. “I just want to say thank you, because this has never been done before. You have gained back the whole trust of 40 million people. You have made history. I have tears in my eyes.” His compatriots responded with a round of applause.

Nobody will relish taking on Regragui’s team in this mood. They are fearsome adversaries, drilled to make life as uncomfortable as possible for any opponents, even an elegant young Spanish team who outpassed them by a ratio of three to one. Beauty, ultimately, stood no chance against the brute force of the Moroccan challenge. Not when Romain Saiss was flying into tackles as if his life depended on it, or when goalkeeper Bono, launchpad for a million Beautiful Day puns, proved an immovable object once more. In over 6½ hours of football, he has stood undaunted, the only blot on his record an own goal by Nayef Aguerd.

Achraf Hakimi of Morocco scores the team's fourth and winning penalty - Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Achraf Hakimi of Morocco scores the team's fourth and winning penalty - Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Africa’s high-water mark at the World Cup has been equalled, with Morocco emulating Cameroon, Senegal and Ghana as the continent’s fourth quarter-finalists. Do not bet against them surging beyond this, into uncharted territory. They are a nightmare to try to subdue, scrapping for every inch, waiting to pounce on the counter-attack. They also betray barely a hint of nerves. Exhorted by their tireless supporters, who ensured all 120 minutes of this game unfolded to a piercing din, they knew they held a psychological advantage for the shoot-out.

The cheers were ear-splitting when they realised the kicks would be taken right in front of them. Sarabia, the midfielder brought on in the dying seconds of extra-time for this very purpose, looked as though he would rather be anywhere else. Wilting amid the seething hostility, and with Morocco already 1-0 ahead thanks to Abdelhamid Sabiri, he skewed his effort into a post. Hakim Ziyech compounded the agony with an emphatic shot up the middle before Soler crumbled, his attempt smothered by an inspired Bono.

Not even a miscue by substitute Badr Benoun could save Spain now. Luis Enrique, back in the dugout, was staring bleakly into space, dreading the inquisition to come. When even Busquets, the wizened veteran, had his attempt blocked, the stage belonged to Hakimi, barely blinking as he applied the glorious final flourish. Hakimi, the Paris St Germain right-back, more than justified the elevated status that his coach affords him. “Some players need to be treated differently,” Regragui said. “It’s the same with Neymar at Brazil. Hakimi is not just any player.”

Players of Morocco run to celebrate with Achraf Hakimi after he scored the winning penalty against Spain - Mohamed Messara/EPA
Players of Morocco run to celebrate with Achraf Hakimi after he scored the winning penalty against Spain - Mohamed Messara/EPA

Raised in Spain and once part of Real Madrid’s youth set-up, Hakimi was the star turn here of a truly incendiary clash of cultures. Spain and Morocco might be separated by just nine miles across the Strait of Gibraltar, but in the aesthetics of their football could scarcely be farther apart, as neat little passing triangulations collided headlong with a ferocious high press. Every Spanish touch was greeted with a chorus of mockery, sharper than a knife on glass.

Spain were stuck in the same predictable patterns of lateral passing, with any threat snuffed out in the final third. Nico Williams injected a dash of pace, while Alvaro Morata was reduced to swinging wildly across the face of goal in the hope somebody would connect. Their clearest chance came in the final minute of normal time, when Soler’s free-kick found the head of Morata, who crumpled to the pitch despairingly as his header flew over. The battle was tense, attritional, sometimes ill-tempered, with Morocco unyielding in their resistance. And it laid the platform, improbably, for one of the World Cup’s great triumphs of substance over style.

Match details

Morocco (4-3-3): Bono; Hakimi, Aguerd (El Yamiq 84), Saiss, Mazraoui (Attiat-Allah 83); Ounahi (Benoun 120), Amrabat, Amallah (Cheddira 82); Ziyech, En-Nesyri (Sabiri 83), Boufal (Ezzalzouli 66).
Booked: Saiss.
Substitutes not used: Hamdallah, Zaroury, Mohamedi, Chair, Aboukhlal, Dari, Tagnaouti, El Khannouss, Jabrane.
Spain (4-3-3): Simon; Llorente, Rodri, Laporte, Alba (Balde 98); Gavi (Soler 63), Busquets, Pedri; F Torres (Williams 75, Sarabia 118), Asensio (Morata 63), Olmo (Fati 98).
Booked: Laporte.
Substitutes not used: Sánchez, Azpilicueta, García, P Torres, Koke, Raya, Guillamón, Pino, Carvajal.
Referee: F Rapallini (Argentina).
Attendance: 44,667.

Morocco vs Spain: As it happened

06:31 PM

Representing a continent

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06:23 PM

Someone enjoyed Hakimi's 'Penguin' celebration

Achraf Hakimi of Morocco celebrates after scoring the team's fourth - GETTY IMAGES
Achraf Hakimi of Morocco celebrates after scoring the team's fourth - GETTY IMAGES
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06:17 PM

Just like Russia 2018

A penalty shootout proves Spain's undoing. Really, their problem is allowing these ties to reach penalties despite dominating possession and territory. Fati, Pedri and Gavi will come again, though.

Spain players react after Sergio Busquets misses a penalty during a penalty shootout - REUTERS
Spain players react after Sergio Busquets misses a penalty during a penalty shootout - REUTERS

06:16 PM

A national hero

Morocco's goalkeeper will be most popular man called Bono in the country. Or indeed the most popular man called Bono in any country (an open goal, but someone had to convert...)

Take a bow, Yassine 'Bono' Bounou.

Yassine Bounou of Morocco celebrates the team's victory through the penalty shootout in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - GETTY IMAGES
Yassine Bounou of Morocco celebrates the team's victory through the penalty shootout in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - GETTY IMAGES

06:12 PM

Sarabia was brought especially for a penalty...

Took Spain's first one in the shootout, then missed it. The same thing happened with Rashford and Sancho in the shootout at Wembley last summer. Is it a strategy coaches will rethink? Is it even relevant?

Spain's Pablo Sarabia appears dejected after losing the penalty shoot-out of the FIFA World Cup Round - PA
Spain's Pablo Sarabia appears dejected after losing the penalty shoot-out of the FIFA World Cup Round - PA

06:08 PM

Morocco will play Switzerland or Portugal in the next round

There is some big team news coming from that game: Cristiano Ronaldo has been left on the bench, follow all the live build-up and team news before that game here.

06:04 PM

Aymeric Laporte (24) in tears at the end

That is also Sergio Busquets' last World Cup appearance, the last remaining member of the squad who won the World Cup in 2010.

Dejected players of Spain react after losing the penalty shoot out and are eliminated - GETTY IMAGES
Dejected players of Spain react after losing the penalty shoot out and are eliminated - GETTY IMAGES

06:00 PM

Joe Cole full of praise for Morocco's players

I've watched Ziyech for two years at Chelsea and I've never seen him put a shot in like that, defensively. He was like two men out there tonight.

Amrabat, as good a holding midfielder as we've seen in the tournament.

The two centre-halves - actually the four centre-halves because the two had to come off! - and the standards still didn't drop.

05:58 PM

Predictor: Quarter-final line-up is taking shape

We now know that France, England, Brazil, Croatia, Argentina, Holland and now a surprise name in Morocco have reached the last-eight. How do you see the rest of the tournament panning out? Use our predictor tool to pick the winner.

05:56 PM

Morocco's celebrations

Achraf Hakimi of Morocco celebrates after the team's victory - GETTY IMAGES
Achraf Hakimi of Morocco celebrates after the team's victory - GETTY IMAGES
Morocco celebrate as they win the penalty shoot out. Morocco v Spain - SHUTTERSTOCK
Morocco celebrate as they win the penalty shoot out. Morocco v Spain - SHUTTERSTOCK

05:50 PM

Morocco through to their first ever quarter-final

The manager is getting the bumps on the pitch, and their performances since the start of the tournament have been so impressive. They were unbeaten in the group, and have conceded one goal in four games.

Let the inquest begin for Spain...

Achraf Hakimi of Morocco celebrates after the team's victory - GETTY IMAGES
Achraf Hakimi of Morocco celebrates after the team's victory - GETTY IMAGES

05:47 PM

Hakimi scores with a Panenka! Morocco win 3-0 on penalties

Morocco are through to the quarter-finals are Spain are heading home. Hakimi, Madrid-born, dinked the penalty down the middle and Simon dived out of the way.

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05:46 PM

Busquets misses! Morocco 2 Spain 0

Another really poor penalty from Spain! Busquets' effort is weak and to the goalkeeper's right, and Bono makes another stop.

If Hakimi scores the next one, Spain are out.

05:44 PM

Benoun misses! Morocco 2 Spain 0

Spain have the chance to reduce the deficit after Simon produces his first save of the shootout.

Busquets to take....

05:44 PM

Soler misses! Morocco 2 Spain 0

It's a poor penalty, to the goalkeeper's left and a comfortable height.

Morocco have a two-penalty advantage.

Morocco's Yassine Bounou saves a penalty missed by Spain's Carlos Soler - REUTERS
Morocco's Yassine Bounou saves a penalty missed by Spain's Carlos Soler - REUTERS

05:43 PM

Ziyech scores! Morocco 2 Spain 0

Drills it down the middle.

Soler to take Spain's second...

Morocco's Hakim Ziyech scores past Spain's goalkeeper Unai Simon during a penalty shootout - AP
Morocco's Hakim Ziyech scores past Spain's goalkeeper Unai Simon during a penalty shootout - AP

05:42 PM

Sarabia misses! Morocco 1 Spain 0

He hits the post after being brought on by Enrique specifically to take one,

05:41 PM

Sabiri scores! Morocco 1 Spain 0

Sends Simon the wrong way, and rolls it to the right with his right in-step.

05:40 PM

Morocco will take the first kick...

Luis Enrique said pre-match he has asked his players to practise 1,000 penalties each. Will that pay dividends?

It is mostly Morocco fans behind the goal where the shootout is taking place.

Sabiri is going to take the first penalty up against Simon...

05:37 PM

We are heading to penalties - Morocco 0 Spain 0

Morocco's defending rewarded with a shootout to reach the quarter-finals. They probably had the best chances of the game, too. Whether or not they make it through, the Japan defeat and this game raise questions about Spain's credentials.

05:35 PM

ET: 33 minutes

Morocco dealt with the corner but Spain kept the pressure on and skimmed the post with the last kick of the game! Sarabia picked out by a diagonal cross, and his side-foot volley across goal clipped the woodwork and wide. Should he have tried to knock it back towards the six-yard line?

05:34 PM

ET: 31 minutes

Busquets collected the ball in a shooting position near the edge of the box but did not sort his feet out. Wrong man, wrong place.

El-Yamiq then cleared a Sarabia cross on the stretch and it looked like it was heading into his own net, but it flew wide for a corner.

05:32 PM

THREE added minutes

Morocco have some more defending to do. They will be the more grateful team for penalties.

05:30 PM

ET: 28 minutes

Really good play from Williams to drive to the line and stand up a cross to the back post that was begging to be converted, but Hakimi heads away. Sarabia has now replaced Williams, which must be with an eye on penalties by Enrique.

05:28 PM

ET: 27 minutes

Spain finally found themselves attacking a disorganised Morocco defence with runners pouring forward, but Morata decided against shooting and then his pass to Fati was overhit.

05:26 PM

ET: 24 minutes

Another strong run forward from Cheddira, but once again he runs down a blind alley. In fairness, he got his team up the pitch and Laporte and Rodri did well to close down the angle.

Hakimi goes down thinking he was blocked by Laporte but the referee tells him to get up.

Spain's goalkeeper #23 Unai Simon (R) saves a shot from Morocco's midfielder #21 Walid Cheddira - AFP
Spain's goalkeeper #23 Unai Simon (R) saves a shot from Morocco's midfielder #21 Walid Cheddira - AFP

05:24 PM

ET: 22 minutes

Balde gets forward on the overlap for Spain and is found by a diagonal pass, but his volleyed cross does not find a light blue shirt. And then Williams's touch gets away from him on the opposite flanks.

05:20 PM

ET: 19 minutes

Luis Enrique not happy with some of the time-wasting by Morocco's goalkeeper. Morocco will say Spain have had enough time and enough possession to score by now...

05:18 PM

ET: 17 minutes

We are back under way again, and a Spain pass out towards Fati is too strong. They have not created enough chances from the wide positions they have worked the ball into. Morocco have been outstanding defensively. Yet more good work from Hakimi blocks out Fati.

05:17 PM

A Morocco fan watching from Barcelona

I doubt the owner of that bar will be pleased about the flares.

A Morocco fan cheers amid lighted flares inside a restaurant bar - AP
A Morocco fan cheers amid lighted flares inside a restaurant bar - AP

05:14 PM

Half time in extra time

Still no goals. Williams and Fati look dangerous for Spain who looked to be turning the screw, but Morocco have had the two clearest openings through Cheddira, who really should have scored that second chance.

05:12 PM

ET: 14 minutes

What a chance for Morocco to score! Once again it was Cheddira after great play from Ounahi to pick him out. The substitute striker took the ball beyond the diving Rodri and only had Simon to beat, but he side-footed the shot straight at him.

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05:10 PM

ET: 12 minutes

El Yamiq and his goalkeeper come for the same cross and almost get in each other's way but they get away with it. Spain need to be pushing to win this in what remains, they will not want penalties. Rodri took on a long-range shot but slipped.

05:08 PM

ET: 9 minutes

Spain have Morocco pushed back again, and this time there is movement from the centre-forward position from Morata. Peels down the inside left channel and shows good balance, standing up a chip that is taken off the head of Williams six yards out. Brilliant defending, but Morocco are hanging on now.

05:06 PM

ET: 7 minutes

Williams has made a difference for Spain again tired legs, and his cross from the right is just too high for Morata.

Spain making another couple of changes: Balde on for Alba at left-back and Ansu Fati on for Olmo.

Enrique decides You're The One For Me Fati.

05:03 PM

ET: 5 minutes

Ziyech goes down and lays on the ball, but is penalised for obstruction. Serves him right for trying to referee the game. Jordi Alba's ball across towards Soler is caught out.

Then Cheddira was in behind the Spain defence, but took too long to take his shot! Laporte got a toe to the ball. It looked to be opening up for him to win it there.

Walid Cheddira of Morocco shoots the ball against Aymeric Laporte - GETTY IMAGES
Walid Cheddira of Morocco shoots the ball against Aymeric Laporte - GETTY IMAGES

05:00 PM

ET: 2 minutes

No real sign of the game opening up as yet. Spain trying to tempt Morocco forward with some passes across their backline, but in the end Rodri goes long and plays breaks down.

04:58 PM

Spain get us started in extra time

More whistles from Morocco's fans greet the restart.

04:54 PM

FT: Morocco 0 Spain 0

That is probably a fair reflection of both teams' efforts even if Spain grew increasingly dominant as the game progressed.

The problem for Morocco is they look pretty spent, and Aguerd, Mazraoui, Boufal and En Nesyri have been substituted.

Spain have been able to introduce the likes of Morata, Williams and Soler. The gulf between both benches could be the difference.

04:52 PM

95 minutes

Spain have one last chance to load the box in normal time, after Olmo wins another free-kick on the left. Olmo has kept going and trying to dribble, to give him some credit.

And then flat delivery went all the way through, just missing Rodri and Williams, and the goalkeeper Bounou got down well to palm it away.

Morocco's Yassine Bounou makes a save as Spain's Alvaro Morata - REUTERS
Morocco's Yassine Bounou makes a save as Spain's Alvaro Morata - REUTERS

04:50 PM

93 minutes

From that free-kick won by El-Yamid, Ziyech drilled a wonderful diagonal pass to the back post to Sabbiri's head but the referee then awarded Spain a foul for some grappling in the area.

Morocco's Walid Cheddira in action with Spain's Rodri and Aymeric Laporte - REUTERS
Morocco's Walid Cheddira in action with Spain's Rodri and Aymeric Laporte - REUTERS

04:49 PM

92 minutes

Simon leaves it to the last second to clear the ball again, and Ezzalzouli was not far away from closing him down. The Spain goalkeeper gets away with another one. El-Yamid goes down under the slightest challenge from Morata to kill some more team. Not sure it was worth the audible scream.

04:47 PM

90 minutes

Ounahi shown a yellow card for a foul on Olmo, giving Spain the chance to deliver into the box from a free-kick just to the left of the penalty area. Soler is over it, sent deep to Morata at the back post but he headed wide rather than across goal. Poor technique from the striker.

There will be FIVE minutes of added time.

04:46 PM

88 minutes

Morocco finishing with a flurry hear, with the tireless Hakimi driving them forward, but the return pass to him was too heavy.

Then Morata gets in behind the Morocco defence in the right channel and Williams sees a shot blocked, but the offside flag goes up in any case.

04:43 PM

85 minutes

That was Morocco's best attacking moment of the second half with Hakimi bursting down the right, nodded down at the back post by Sabiri but Cheddira could not spin and shoot in the penalty area.

Morocco have lost Aguerd to an injury or fatigue, with El Yamiq replacing him at the back.

04:40 PM

82 minutes

Morata peels in behind the Morocco defence but he flashes a shot wide of the far post from a very tight angle. Morocco are inching towards extra time.

04:37 PM

80 minutes

That was dangerous wing-play from Williams, getting the better of his man on the outside and delivery a cross into the six-yard box, which was defended on the stretch with Olmo running across the face of goal.

Llorente makes a burst forward in a narrow position and wins Spain a corner. Taken short, but Morocco defend their box stoutly.

04:35 PM

78 minutes

Olmo with a speculative volley from outside the area that was always rising. Spain pressure is growing, but do you really fancy any of their forward line to score? Bounou has not had a save to make.

Spain's Ferran Torres and Morocco's Sofyan Amrabat react after a shot - REUTERS
Spain's Ferran Torres and Morocco's Sofyan Amrabat react after a shot - REUTERS

04:33 PM

76 minutes

Mazraoui has had a fantastic game at left-back against Torres, defending another diagonal pass well there, and it was the last bit of play involving Torres. He is replaced by Williams on the Spain right flank.

Morocco do finally get out after a dicey kick forward from the goalkeeper, and Laporte is booked for bringing down Hakimi.

04:31 PM

74 minutes

The positive news for Spain is that the attacking threat Morocco carried in the first 45 minutes has waned. They are struggling to string two or three passes together now, will that lack of a release valve cost them in the closing stages? It's an attack vs defence session at the moment.

04:30 PM

72 minutes

Spain are seeing all of the ball now, but they still do not look very dangerous despite completely controlling territory.

For one of the first times in the game, Morocco find themselves defending a counter-attack there but it was a perfect tackle to stop Torres in his tracks. Spain continue to be frustrated.

04:26 PM

69 minutes

For one of the first times in the game, Olmo received the ball in space behind the Morocco midfield but it was a brilliantly-timed sliding tackle from Aguerd to hook the ball cleanly away from Morata just inside the penalty area. Spain have still just had two attempts on goal.

04:24 PM

67 minutes

Boufal is coming off for Morocco with what looks a muscular problem, Ezzalzouli replaces him.

Spain enjoy a sustained period of possession, but once again Torres cannot get past Mazraoui. Then Alba wins Spain a corner. Can they carve out that one big chance?

04:21 PM

64 minutes

Gavi and Asensio are the two players coming off for Spain, replaced by Soler and Morata. Alba went down clutching his hamstring in the previous move, but is back on the pitch so maybe just a touch of cramp.

04:19 PM

61 minutes

Morocco very angry with a free-kick being awarded for a light touch on the back of Gavi. Luis Enrique is preparing a change, and it is not great surprise to see that striker Alvaro Morata is getting ready. Midfielder Carlos Soler is also ready to come on.

Morocco goalkeeper Bounou punches nervously under the high ball, but gets away with it.

04:16 PM

59 minutes

Spain have maybe looked a little callow in midfield today, not exactly having the game in a vice-like grip as you expect in a big World Cup game. Much credit has to go to Morocco for that. Amrabat is everywhere, playing in the knowledge that a yellow card will put him out of a quarter-final.

04:13 PM

56 minutes

A few gaps are starting to open up now for Spain, but this time Olmo does not get the foul when Amrabat shoved him off the ball. Then Morocco threaten through Mazraoui but the referee also tells him to get to his feet after going down on the corner of the penalty area.

Goalkeeper Yassine Bounou of Morocco saves the shot of Dani Olmo of Spain far left. Morocco v Spain - SHUTTERSTOCK
Goalkeeper Yassine Bounou of Morocco saves the shot of Dani Olmo of Spain far left. Morocco v Spain - SHUTTERSTOCK

04:11 PM

53 minutes

Hakimi drives forward with the ball is fouled by Olmo. Luis Enrique grimaces on the touchline.

That was better from Spain. Olmo with a move inside and things opened up for Gavi on his left who was fouled. Spain will have free-kick just to the left of the penalty area. Laid off for Olmo for took the shot on and the goalkeeper punched clear.

04:07 PM

49 minutes

Spain trying to fire off passes around the penalty area at greater speed, but the accuracy is not there.

The Unai Simon just about squeezes a clearance between two Morocco attackers closing him down in his six-yard box! Simon has some talent but does look a vulnerability as Spain progress through the touranement.

04:04 PM

47 minutes

Spain have a free-kick in a dangerous position wide right. Olmo whipped the ball in to a threatening area but Morocco En Nesyri won a crucial defensive header in his own box.

04:02 PM

We're back under way

Morocco get us going in the second half.

04:01 PM

Shot-shy spain

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03:52 PM

Player ratings

Who have been Morocco's best players and who needs to lift it for Spain?

03:49 PM

HT: Morocco 0 Spain 0

Morocco will be delighted with that half. They have made it very difficult for Spain to progress the ball to players between midfield and defence, limiting the influence of Gavi and Pedri.

They have also shown the confidence to play out of pressure rather than lumping it long, and they have quality delivery on both flanks through Hakimi and Mazraoui.

Spain have looked more dangerous after Morocco errors. Keep those to a minimum and they have a chance of winning this.

Hakim Ziyech of Morocco appeals to a referee assistant - GETTY IMAGES
Hakim Ziyech of Morocco appeals to a referee assistant - GETTY IMAGES

03:46 PM

45minutes+1

Morocco survive a scare on the stroke of half time after Amrabat gave the ball away in midfield, but Asensio's ball across the box was behind Olmo.

03:45 PM

Just the one minute of added time

That is a rarity in this tournament.

03:44 PM

43 minutes

Morocco have missed the best chance of the game! Aguerd headed over the bar when completely unmarked after Mazraoui stood up a cross from the left. Spain not always looking comfortable under aerial deliveries.

Morocco's Nayef Aguerd heads for the ball during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match - AP
Morocco's Nayef Aguerd heads for the ball during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match - AP

03:41 PM

41 minutes

Llorente has looked a square peg in a round hole at right-back for Spain, has not looked comfortable defensively or going forward. By contrast, more excellent defending from Hakimi against Olmo in the same position for Morocco.

03:38 PM

38 minutes

Spain's combinations down both flanks, need to be sharper because they are being crowded out in central areas. Very nearly a nice Morocco move, an up-back-and-through, but Ziyech's chipped ball forward for Hakimi had too much on it.

03:35 PM

35 minutes

Torres trying to chop and change direction inside the penalty area, but Morocco's defenders are not buying it and stay on their feet. Olmo tries a flick over the head of Aguerd following Laporte's pass forward, but it does not come off. Not much is for Spain at the moment.

Spain coach Luis Enrique reacts - REUTERS
Spain coach Luis Enrique reacts - REUTERS

03:33 PM

33 minutes

Noussair Mazraoui with a really good strike from distance which Simon parried, but he gathered at the second attempt. Morocco have been very solid, and have carried a threat going forward.

03:31 PM

31 minutes

Saiss reads play well and steps out with the ball after making an interception, and then looks to fade a through ball in behind Rodri for En-Nesyri, but the City player got there first. Not a bad idea because Rodri is not the sharpest running back towards his own goal. Morocco have been impressive.

03:29 PM

28 minutes

Asensio with a rare spin in behind, but he found the side-netting from a tight angle with his left foot. Spain rolling the ball between their defenders again, but Morocco are looking very solid out of possession. Hard work for Luis Enrique's side at the moment.

Marco Asensio of Spain takes a shot against Yassine Bounou of Morocco - GETTY IMAGES
Marco Asensio of Spain takes a shot against Yassine Bounou of Morocco - GETTY IMAGES

03:26 PM

25 minutes

Morocco showing real personality to play out from the goalkeeper, but they were very nearly caught out there. Goalkeeper Bounou's square pass out to Hakimi was cut out and Gavi was free in the box, but his shot was cleared off the line before a follow-up hit the bar. In any case, the flag went up for offside.

Morocco's Yassine Bounou saves a shot from Spain's Gavi onto the bar - REUTERS
Morocco's Yassine Bounou saves a shot from Spain's Gavi onto the bar - REUTERS

03:23 PM

23 minutes

Boufal involved in another bright Morocco moment, sending Llorente for a hot dog with a shimmy, but Ziyech turned down the chance to shoot on the volley from the cross. It would have been a very hard chance. Morocco will be pleased with this, so far.

03:21 PM

21 minutes

Boufal is a wildly inconsistent talent but he looks like he is having one of his better days, showing quick feet to skip down the right. Amrabat then earns Morocco a free-kick on the opposite flank, whipped in from Ziyech but headed away by Spain.

03:19 PM

19 minutes

Morocco are backing themselves to play out from the back through Spain pressure. Torres fires a cross over from the right, but it flies over the heads of the four Spain players in the penalty area. Gavi flies in to win a header about a foot off the ground, brave play from the midfielder.

03:16 PM

16 minutes

Morocco starting to show some authority and composure in possession now, working the ball right from their defensive third to a left wing position, but Simon was steady under a looping cross to catch. Spain with another spell of possession, but they are not slicing through lines or pulling their opponents out of shape at the moment.

03:13 PM

13 minutes

Morocco goalkeeper Yassine Bounou took a risk by dwelling on the ball in his six-yard box under pressure from Asensio, but he kept his head and picked a pass. Morocco have settled into this game pretty well, no significant alarms so far. Spain threatened a counter-attack there but Gavi's touch got away from him.

03:11 PM

11 minutes

Those are the moments Morocco are waiting for, a rare mistake in midfield from Spain with Busquets caught on the ball in midfield though he claimed a foul. Boufal carried the ball forward and won a free-kick in dangerous area but Hakimi whipped it over the wall and bar.

Morocco's Achraf Hakimi, left, kicks a free kick during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match - AP
Morocco's Achraf Hakimi, left, kicks a free kick during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match - AP

03:08 PM

8 minutes

Spain working the ball to side to side, being careful not to force a mis-placed pass forward that results in a counter attack. Torres tries to inject some pace into their attack with a dribble from the right, but Morocco defend well and win a free-kick through Amrabat.

03:06 PM

6 minutes

Morocco get over the halfway line for the first time in the game, and it looked like they had a four vs three against Spain's retreating defence for a moment but a heavy Ziyech touch killed the move. Marcos Llorente, filling in at right-back for Spain today, tries to get forward.

03:04 PM

4 minutes

Pedri looking to combine with Gavi with a chipped ball forward but the midfielder cannot bring it under his spell. Spain seeing plenty of the ball, but no big gaps appearing at this very early stage in the game. When they won the World Cup in 2010, Spain won a number of games 1-0 by wearing teams down.

Morocco's Selim Amallah, right, is challenged by Spain's Ferran Torres, center, and Spain's Gav - AP
Morocco's Selim Amallah, right, is challenged by Spain's Ferran Torres, center, and Spain's Gav - AP

03:02 PM

2 minutes

Within the first 20 seconds Ziyech, who is hardly a hatchet man, leaves one on Jordi Alba with a late challenge. A signal of intent from Morocco.

Spain seeing a lot of the ball between their two centre-backs Rodri and Laporte, with Morocco dropping off into a 4-5-1 shape. Trying to back the middle of the pitch and keep their defence and midfield close together.

03:00 PM

KICK OFF!

Spain get us started, playing in their light blue away strip.

02:53 PM

The players are on their way out

The pattern of this game should be predictable: Spain dominating the ball and Morocco trying to soak up pressure and strike on the break. The outcome on the other hand, is far from predictable.

Spain's forward #11 Ferran Torres, Spain's midfielder #16 Rodri and Spain's midfielder #05 Sergio Busquets - AFP
Spain's forward #11 Ferran Torres, Spain's midfielder #16 Rodri and Spain's midfielder #05 Sergio Busquets - AFP

02:52 PM

Enrique is not buying the idea that penalties are a lottery

"I imagine that they have done their homework," he said of his players facing a shootout.

"Over a year ago, in one of the Spain camps, I told them they had to get here with at least 1,000 penalties taken.

"If you wait until getting here to practise penalties... [it won't be enough].

"It's a moment of maximum tension, a time to show your nerve and that you can shoot the penalty in the way you have decided, if you have trained it a thousand times.

"It says a lot about each player. It's trainable, manageable, how you manage the tension. It's increasingly less luck - the goalkeepers have more influence."

02:40 PM

Morocco's players out to warm up

This is almost like a home game for them, with ITV's pundits suggesting there could be as many as 25,000 Morocco fans at the Education City Stadium.

Morocco's midfielder #07 Hakim Ziyech (C) applauds supporters before the Qatar 2022 World Cup round of 16 - AFP
Morocco's midfielder #07 Hakim Ziyech (C) applauds supporters before the Qatar 2022 World Cup round of 16 - AFP

02:29 PM

Very apt

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02:22 PM

Morocco's defensive record

Coach Walid Regragui was only appointed in August and has had just six games in charge, but in that time Morocco have conceded just one goal and are undefeated. That goal was also an own goal against Canada, a game they won in any case.

Full-backs Noussair Mazraoui and Achraf Hakimi play for Bayern Munich and PSG respectively, while West Ham summer signing Nayef Aguerd is a highly-rated centre-back (but suffered a serious ankle injury in one of his first appearances). Amrabat protects the back four with a mix of combativeness and cynicism when required.

This looks a favourable draw on paper, but is an awkward one for Spain. They may have preferred facing an older Croatia side.

Morocco fans show their support prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - GETTY IMAGES
Morocco fans show their support prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - GETTY IMAGES

02:12 PM

Spain have reverted to the formula they started the tournament with

No recognised striker and Alvaro Morata on the bench. Asensio will be the central reference point in the attack, but Olmo and Torres off the sides will be the main goal threats. Spain were over-confident after taking the lead against Japan, but ultimately it hasn't cost them much, and perhaps gave Luis Enrique a chance to take his players to task.

 Luis Enrique, Head Coach of Spain, looks on prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - GETTY IMAGES
Luis Enrique, Head Coach of Spain, looks on prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - GETTY IMAGES

02:03 PM

Predict the score

How do you think today's game will finish?

01:59 PM

Team news

Morocco: Yassine Bounou, Achraf Hakimi, Noussair Mazraoui, Nayef Aguerd, Romain Saiss, Sofyan Amrabat, Selim Amallah, Azzedine Ounahi, Hakim Ziyech, Soufiane Boufal, Youssef En-Nesyri.

Spain: Unai Simon, Marcos Llorente, Aymeric Laporte, Rodri, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Gavi, Pedri, Ferran Torres, Dani Olmo, Marco Asensio.

01:55 PM

Good afternoon

Hello and welcome to Telegraph Sport's live coverage of Morocco versus Spain in the last 16 of this year's World Cup. This afternoon's game is due to kick off at 3pm at the Education City Stadium, with the winner facing either Portugal or Switzerland (who face each other at 7pm) in the quarter-finals.

At the start of the tournament, the likelihood of these two teams facing each other seemed remote. Morocco's qualification chances were seen as slender, having been drawn in a group alongside big beasts like Croatia and Belgium, while Spain were on a dazzling run, destined to win Group E ahead of Germany, Japan and Costa Rica.

But an energetic Morocco side, led by Achraf Hakimi and Hakim Ziyech, cut down ageing European opponents to top their group and reach the knockout stages for the first time since 1986. Spain, meanwhile, fell victim to giant-killing Japan in their third fixture, and ended up finishing as runners-up in a group which came down to the wire.

Moroccan head coach Walid Regragui acknowledged the chasm of World Cup experience between the two teams but ahead of the match he suggested that Morocco may yet have a surprise "up [their] sleeve".

"It's important for us to put our emotions aside and pull out all the stops. The great nations are here, and it's important for us to to give them a run for their money," he said.

"We tell this to our kids that you have to have dreams. Africa has never won a World Cup. Why not give them this dream?"

With Senegal out following England's 3-0 victory against the Lions of Teranga on Sunday evening, Morocco are the only African team left in the competition, and Regragui stressed that before, it was "just the Moroccans who supported us".

He added: "Now it is the Africans and the Arabs. We will come in with a winner's attitude. We will come in swinging. We want to hoist our Moroccan flag up high."