Morocco defeated Spain 3-0 on penalties; Nayef Aguerd headed over for Morocco in the first half as Spain’s offense stuttered; Pablo Sarabia brushed a post with a shot in the final minute of extra-time; Morocco will face either Portugal or Switzerland.
Spain’s offensive shortcomings were exposed, as they were limited to only one shot on target during the game, their lowest-ever in a World Cup game.
Morocco’s greatest opportunity came in the first half, when West Ham centre-back Nayef Aguerd headed wide from close range.
In extra time, following a drab second half, Morocco substitute Walid Cheddira was denied one-on-one by Unai Simon before Spain’s Pablo Sarabia grazed a post with a volley in the final minute.
With both sides unable to be separated, Sarabia incredibly hit a post again with Spain’s first spot kick before Carlos Soler and Sergio Busquets had theirs saved by Bono, leaving Achraf Hakimi to coolly chip the winning penalty down the middle to send Morocco through.
Despite having 77% possession and 926 precise passes, Luis Enrique’s side was unable to break down a stubborn Morocco. Spain labored throughout, with Bono pushing Gavi’s effort into the crossbar before Ferran Torres’ follow-up was stopped in the six-yard box, but the offside flag was still up.
Marco Asensio had their greatest chance of the first stanza, grabbing onto a pass in behind Morocco’s defense and volleying it into the side-netting.
Morocco had previously seen Hakimi whistle a free-kick close to the goal before Simon collected Noussair Mazraoui’s long-range effort on the second try. Their excellent opportunity came when former Southampton winger Sofiane Boufal crossed for Aguerd, who blazed past with a clear header.
The second half got more disappointing for Spain as Morocco’s midfielder Sofyan Amrabat was brilliant, backed up by powerful centre-back performances from Aguerd and Romain Saiss.
Cheddira almost won it for them in extra time, but was stopped by Simon’s right leg, and they rode their luck when Sarabia volleyed off a post with the last kick.
He hit the crossbar again seconds later, sidefooting his penalty off the right post after Morocco had taken the lead via Abdelhamid Sabiri. Hakim Ziyech increased their lead, and Bono saved Soler to bring them on the verge of victory.
But Simon kept Badr Benoun out to keep Spain in it, even if Bono delivered again, instantly denying captain Busquets before Hakimi audaciously won it.
ACHRAF HAKIMI. 🐧🏽👑— Kylian Mbappé (@KMbappe) December 6, 2022