LOW AND BEHOLD, SPAIN HAVE DRAWN WITH MOROCCO!
And can we all just take a minute to acknowledge how Morocco’s No. 13, Khalid Boutaib, took advantage on the 13th minute to stun the Spanish and the rest of the world. You can say, 13 is probably now his lucky number from now until the end of time!
Another thriller, another intense game and draw for Spain as they claim the top of the table in their group either way. Morocco coming last and clearly going home early but not without a fight, and a fight is what they gave.
We return to that 13th minute goal by Boutaib, a clumsy mistake by Spain so early in the game and punished with a shot that traveled right between De Gea, the famous Spanish showstoppers legs, and into the back of the net.
But all hope is not lose, as Iniesta makes his way dangerously into Moroccos box, cool, calm and collected as he passes the ball to Isco who gives Spain a goal to equalise between the two teams, who are putting on quite a show!
Many missed chances followed throughout the first half, both sides only millimetres away from another set of nail biting chance to score. Diego Costa sliding in on goal, as well as an amazing attempted shot by Nordin Amrabat. A world class shot that was just INCHES away from the top left hand corner, but an unlucky dink off the cross bar after a delightful curve. The crushed chance of it being on the list as one of the best goals of the tournament, causing Moroccan hearts to drop.
The frustrating bad luck continued, but for Spain this time, as chances from Isco and Pique did not go to plan at all. Shots and headers that were either not hard enough or just off target is what kept Spain still levelled with the Moroccans and bad luck to continue.
Balls going astray, De Gea doing his job well, bodies blocking bullet like shots on goal, handballs that should have been called (Yes, yes I do love Gerard Pique every other day of the year as a Barcelona fan, but I do believe that was a DAMN HAND BALL! BOTH TIMES!)
Finally a blistering header from Morocco’s No. 19, En-Nesyri, to silence the Spaniards and take Morocco into the lead on the 80th minute. 2 – 1, could Morocco really defeat the 2010 World Cup champions and another underdog claim points from a powerhouse? I think that’s what we were all hoping for, fans love the underdog success stories as much as the powerful plays from the elite nations and it is always far more satisfying when a country that no one has much faith in, silences the masses.
But it was short lived as Spain equalise from a classy back foot tap-in by Iago Aspas in injury time on the 91st minute. But what would the World Cup be if there was not a controversial decision, forcing the VAR to make a celebrity appearance to clear up the offside call, in the end the goal being given, making it 2 – 2 in injury time.
Spain move forward, round of 16 on their Horizon with Portugal following closly behind. Morocco and Iran going home early but not with too much disappointment. Both sides played well, especially for being grouped with 2 giants of Europe on the world stage. And for that, I applaud them both on their passion for the beautiful game, their fight and skill.
I don’t know about you, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching these two underdogs.