World Cup 2022: Morocco beats Spain in penalties, reaches first quarterfinal

Morocco will face Switzerland or Portugal in the 2022 World Cup quarterfinals. Photo by Tolga Bozoglu/EPA-EFE
Morocco will face Switzerland or Portugal in the 2022 World Cup quarterfinals. Photo by Tolga Bozoglu/EPA-EFE

Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Madrid native Achraf Hakimi calmly drove a penalty kick into the center of the net to lead Morocco to an upset win over Spain in the World Cup Round of 16 on Tuesday in Ar Rayyan, Qatar.

Goalie Bono also made two clutch saves in the shootout session, which Morocco won 3-0 after two scoreless halves of regulation and extra time at Education City Stadium.


Abdelhamid Sabiri and Hakim Ziyech also converted their penalty attempts.

Morocco, the No. 22 team in the world, clinched a spot in the quarterfinals for the first time in men's World Cup history. No. 7 Spain failed to advance past the Round of 16 for the fourth time in their last five World Cup appearances.

The Moroccans will battle Portugal or Switzerland for a chance to play in the Qatar 2022 semifinals.

Spain dominated possession throughout regulation and two periods of extra time, but both teams struggled to put a shot on target. The Spaniards dizzied defenders with a barrage of accurate passes.

They registered 13 shots, but put just one on frame through regulation and extra time.

They used that strategy to spread out the Moroccans, patiently waiting to find a gap in the defense. Morocco used more of a frantic, attacking style, but put just two of their six shots on frame.

Defender Noussair Mazraoui unleashed the first on-target attempt in the 33rd minute, but that shot was saved by Spain's Simon. Spain failed to place a shot on target over the first 45 minutes.

Striker Dani Olmo finally put a shot on frame for Spain in the 54th minute. Spain followed with several offensively-minded substitutions to attempt to get a score.

The Spaniards picked up their offensive intensity in the final minutes, but the Moroccan defense held up to force extra time.


The two, 15-minute bonus frames also ended without score, despite several close chances. Spain nearly netted a dramatic winner in the final minute of stoppage time, when midfielder Pablo Sarabia rifled a shot off the left post from point-blank range.

Morocco's Sabiri then fired a shot into the right side of the net to start the shootout. Sarabia then hit Spain's first shot off the right post.

Ziyech fired the next shot right up the middle to keep the Moroccan lead. Bono then saved a shot from Spain's Carlos Soler.

Spain's Unai Simon came up with a clutch save on the next attempt from Bedr Benoun. Bono responded with his second save of the session, diving right to block a shot by Sergio Busquets.

Hakimi then ended his home country's 2022 World Cup run with his composed strike into the middle of the net.

Morocco will face Portugal or Switzerland in the quarterfinals at 10 a.m. EST Saturday at Al Thumama Stadium in Doha. The winner of that match will battle England or France in the semifinals.


Portugal and Switzerland will kick off their Round of 16 match at 2 p.m. Tuesday in Lusail.

Fans cheer on World Cup contenders in Qatar

A Morocco fan supports his team while wearing a costume during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Semi-Final match between Morocco and France at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar, on December 14, 2022. Photo by Chris Brunskill/UPI | License Photo

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