In the match between Spain and Morocco, the loudest sensation in the playoffs of the World Cup in Qatar took place. "Red Fury", which was predicted almost a championship, ingloriously flew into the 1/8 finals. And you can’t say that this is just a bitter coincidence.
Even at the European Championships last year, the main difference between the current Spanish national team and its predecessor, which became the best in the world and on the continent, was striking. That team, although they drew the same tedious tiki-taka ornament, they knew how to realize their moments. The team of Luis Enrique, with all the outstanding set of players, does not have this quality. And the Moroccans have perfectly exposed it.
The Spaniards started the game in a businesslike way, began to have complete possession of the ball and cover any creative attempts of the guys from North Africa with high pressure - sometimes even right at their own penalty area. In the debut, it seemed that Luis Enrique's men would at some point crush the opponent, as happened in the match between Brazil and South Korea. However, if the pentakampeons demonstrated a lethal implementation - four goals after four shots on target, then the Spanish team could not create anything ahead at all. Only in the 27th minute Jordi Alba finally gave Marco Asensio, and he hit the net from ten meters away - however, from the outside of the gate.
At the 34th minute, the Moroccans finally created a threat at the Spanish goal: Nussair Mazraoui covered Ferran Torres, took possession of the ball and hit from outside the penalty area, but Unai Simon, even on the second attempt, still fixed the ball.
After the break, nothing has changed: the Spaniards have the ball, but they seem to be playing square in training without any gates. Only in the 56th minute, Dani Olmo shot well under the crossbar, but Yassin Bunu knocked the ball into the field. And then there was boredom – the Moroccans defended competently, and the Spaniards illiterately rolled the ball, having rolled it up to extra time.
In overtime, the rivals exchanged dangerous attacks: in the 105th minute, Simon saved the “red fury” by parrying Valid Sheddira's kick from ten meters with his foot, and in the 123rd, before the whistle, Pablo Sarabia, who had barely replaced, loaded into the post.
Sarabia - perhaps the main loser of the match. After all, in addition to this miss, he did not realize the first blow in the penalty shootout, again hitting the post. Before that, Abdelhamid Sabiri did not miss, and then Hakish Ziyech powerfully struck in the center. And then Bunu took a weak shot from Carlos Soler. The fate of the match could be decided by Badr Banun, but Simon guessed where the ball would fly. The captain of the Spaniards, Sergio Busquets, approached the "point" and ... Bunu jumped into the same corner where he was aiming. Ashraf Hakimi was next to the ball - and in a few seconds it was all over.
It seems that the Spaniards spent all their sales on the opening match with Costa Rica (7:0). Why are such skillful football players so terribly inefficient? That question is likely to be answered by Spain's head coach, and it won't be Luis Enrique, who planned to quit anyway and now has no other option. Well, Moroccans can enjoy the moment they deserve.
Spain 0-0 Morocco, pen. 0:3.
December 6. Er Rayyan. Education City Stadium.
Referee - Rapalini (Argentina).
Morocco: Bunu, Hakimi, Saiss, Agerd (El-Yamik, 84), Mazraoui (Attiyat-alla, 82), Amrabat, Amalla (Sheddira, 82), Unai (Banoun, 120), Ziyech, Boufal (Eze Abde, 66 ), En-Nesiri (Sabiri, 82).
Spain: Unai Simon, Laporte, Rodri, Alba (Balde 98), Busquets, Pedri, Gavi (Soler 63), Llorente, Olmo (Fati 98), Asensio (Morata 63), Ferran Torres (Williams 75); Sarabia, 118).
Penalty series: 0:1 Sabiri, 0:1 Sarabia (bar), 0:2 Ziyech, 0:2 Soler (goalkeeper), 0:2 Banun (goalkeeper), 0:2 Busquets (goalkeeper), 0:3 Hakimi.
Booked: Laporte (76), Saisse (90).