FIFA WC 2022 | Morocco's incredible journey in the World Cup
Saturday (December 10) turned out to be a historic day in the history of the FIFA World Cup as for the first time in 92 years of its history, an African nation in the form of Morocco made it to the semifinal stage of the tournament.
Carrying the burden of the entire country and continent, the African side has been in a class of its own, showing great composure and temperament at the grandest stage of all. Still unbeaten in the FIFA World Cup 2022, Morocco’s journey has been nothing short of a sensation, so here is a look at what they have achieved and what can they do.
Topped Group ahead of tournament favorites
It is worth reminding that Morocco were the least favorite of any team from Group F to make the knockout stage as they had a terrible 2018 World Cup. During the previous edition, they lost a match in the 95th minute, conceded an equalizing goal in the 91st minute, and only lost narrowly to Portugal by 1-0. However, those performances set the tone for this tournament as they topped the group ahead of 2018 FIFA World Cup runners-up Croatia and third-placed Belgium.
Morocco started their journey with a draw against Croatia as they drew blank while showing a good glimpse of their defense. Much to the surprise of everyone, in their next match, the African Falcons shocked the world by beating one of the tournament favorites Belgium 2-0 with late goals from Romain Saïss and Zakaria Aboukhlal. In the final group game, they edged Canada and won Group F, leaving Croatia and Belgium in a direct shootout contest for the knockout stage.
Standings in Group F
Heroics in the knockout stage
After advancing to the knockout stage, the African side matched their best-ever run in the competition having equaled their best from 1986. The task was not easy as they took on 2010 World Champions Spain, who had broken their hearts in 2018 for a group stage win. Solid, organized, contemplating the opposition team’s tactics, Morocco kept Spain shut, first for 90 minutes and then for the next 30 minutes, and took the contest to extra time, where they prevailed in a penalty shootout. A dream run that had it all.
The 2018 revenge did not stop there as Portugal who had beaten them four years ago in the group stage were left red-faced in the quarterfinal tie. A Youssef En-Nesyri winner saw Portugal bow out in a 0-1 defeat, in the process writing one of the historic chapters in the history of the FIFA World Cup.
A valiant team effort and great resilience was the key to success as Morocco marched on to great heights. So the only question that surrounds everyone’s lips is, can Morocco go all the way?
Only time will tell what will happen next, but the African Falcon for now have attracted everyone’s attention and remain of the highlights of the FIFA World Cup 2022.