Morocco pulled off one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history yesterday, defeating Spain on penalties to reach their first-ever quarter-final.
In addition to having numerous opportunities to take the lead, the Atlas Lions defended valiantly throughout the game. Hakim Ziyech and replacement Cheddira both missed excellent scoring chances, and Pablo Sarabia also struck the post toward the conclusion of extra time.
However, Morocco scored three times on penalties to win 3-0, and their goalkeeper Bono made two saves on a historic Tuesday night.
Spain had the most of the ball in the first half but was unable to get past a stubborn Moroccan defense.
The 2010 World Cup champions were still in control but were unable to make a move after 90 minutes, forcing extra time.
The North African team earned a 3-0 victory on penalties to advance to the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time. It was Morocco’s first shootout at a World Cup finals and Spain’s fifth.
In the meantime, Goncalo Ramos scored three goals as yesterday’s decisive 6-1 victory over Switzerland propelled Portugal into the World Cup quarterfinals.
After an argument in their most recent game, head coach Fernando Santos bravely decided to bench Ronaldo, but Portugal showed to be free-scoring without him, setting up a quarterfinal meeting with Morocco on Saturday.
Ramos, a senior defender, scored the game’s first goal at the Lusail stadium at the age of 21, making his first start for his country. Pepe, a 39-year-old, then set a World Cup knockout record by scoring with a powerful header.
For his second goal, Ramos connected with a low cross from defender Diogo Dalot and tucked it in between Sommer’s legs to open the second half. After a well-executed team play, Raphael Guerreiro added a fourth goal with a strong strike.
In the 58th minute, Manuel Akanji found space at the back post from a corner and confidently nodded in to give Switzerland a lead back. However, the goal did not inspire recovery, as Ramos added a third with a delicate chip over Sommer who was closing in.
In the 72nd minute, Ronaldo came off the bench just in time for Rafael Leao to score a beautiful goal in extra time to give Portugal their sixth and final goal.
After losing in the group stage (Brazil 2014) and being eliminated in the round of 16 in the 2006 World Cup in Germany, Portugal achieved its first knockout victory since that tournament (South Africa 2010 and Russia 2018).