Morocco became the fourth African nation to reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Qatar after historic knockout victory over Spain on Tuesday.
They won 3-0 on penalties after a 0-0 draw following extra time with goalkeeper Yassine Buonuo putting on an incredible performance during the match and on defending the penalties.
The 31-year old Sevilla goalkeeper was named the Man of the Match following the game after he had refused to let Spain score a goal against the Atlas Lions on penalties.
Morocco becomes the first Arabic-speaking country to reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup, the first held in an Arab country. This is their highest performance in the tournament having reached the round of sixteen in 1986.
Three African nations had reached this stage. Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions were the first African side to surprise the world in 1990 when they topped Group B and went on to eliminate Colombia on penalties in Italy. Roger Milla and co were eliminated by England in the quarter finals.
Twelve years later, Senegal reached the quarter finals of their first World Cup ever after eliminating Sweden. They couldn’t go beyond that stage as İlhan Mansız scored the golden goal in the 94th minutes to eject Teranga Lions.
In 2010, the World Cup was organised in Africa for the first time. Among six nations representing the continent, Ghana Black Stars were the only to to beyond the group Stage and reaching the quarter finals. Ghana were knocked out by Uruguay in a heartbreaking circumstances with their star striker Asamoah Gyan missing the decisive penalty in the stoppage of the game.
All eyes will now be on Morocco this time. They face Portugal on Saturday 10, December in Doha (5pm – CAT).
Quarter Finals fixtures
- Friday, 09 December – 5pm Croatia VS. Brazil
- Friday, 09 December – 9pm Netherlands VS. Argentina
- Saturday 10 December – 5pm Morocco VS. Portugal
- Saturday 10 December – 9pm France VS. England