Yassine Bounou's heroics applauded as Morocco shock Spain to enter historic World Cup 2022 quarter-finals
Morocco shocked 2010 champions Spain on penalties to reach the quarter-finals of the Qatar World Cup 2022 for the first time in their history. Following this epic win, fans took to Twitter to praise the African team and applaud goalkeeper Yassine Bounou's heroics.
Football enthusiasts in Doha's Education Stadium witnessed history unfolding on Tuesday as Morocco shocked 2010 champions Spain on penalties to seal their birth at the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time.
The Atlas Lions won the second shootout of the tournament after a thrilling but scoreless 90 minutes in their round of 16 encounter at the Qatar World Cup 2022, while Spain suffered a penalty heartbreak for the third straight tournament after failing to score a single spot-kick.
A 25-yard free kick from Achraf Hakimi gave Morocco the opening opportunity of the first half, and Marco Asensio, who had made a great run to avoid the offside trap, smashed a shot into the side netting.
Unai Simon nearly caused a panic attack in the final seconds of regulation by taking too long in his area, but he was able to escape Morocco as the game entered extra time. The second half failed to produce any goalmouth action, with La Roja dominating possession but doing little with it.
During a rare break, the underdogs nearly broke the score in the waning seconds of extra time, but Walid Cheddira snatched the opportunity when through on goal and fired straight at Simon.
Spain was inches away from shattering the hearts of the Moroccans in the final seconds of extra time, but substitute Pablo Sarabia's shot hit the post.
Pablo Sarabia, Carlos Soler, and Sergio Busquets all missed their 12-yard attempts in the penalty shootout for Spain, while Abdelhamid Sabiri, Hakim Ziyech and Spanish-born Hakimi scored for Morocco. The Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) star's game-winning Paneka and goalkeeper Yassine Bounou's heroics fired Morocco to the historic quarter-finals. They will now face the winner of Portugal vs Switzerland clash.
Morocco is the first African team to win a penalty shootout at the World Cup and the first to reach the World Cup quarter-finals since 2010.
"Morocco have conceded just ONE goal through 4 World Cup matches and are now headed to their FIRST EVER World Cup quarter-final. They drew Croatia and defeated both Belgium and Spain in the process. What an incredible story," noted one Twitter user.
Another added, "Achraf Hakimi was born and raised in Madrid to Moroccan parents, spent the first years of his life in Spain, and rejected approaches from Spain to play for the Morocco national team. Today, he scored a panenka penalty against Spain to send Morocco to the quarter-finals."
"Congratulations, Morocco, upon progressing to the World Cup Quarter Finals! Africa is Very Proud of You Tonight!" remarked a third fan.
Meanwhile, goalkeeper Yassine Bounou's heroics too received massive applause from Morocco fans. "Morocco 🇲🇦 well played! To play with this determination, skill and to have won with such patience. What a game Spain vs Morocco at the @FIFAWorldCup. And what a performance Bounou," said one fan on Twitter.
Another enthusiast commented, "Yassine Bounou - the best goalkeeper in La Liga last season puts up a heroic performance for Morocco 🇲🇦 to eliminate Spain 🇪🇸 and send them out of the World Cup. What a story!"
Here's a look at some of the reactions on the micro-blogging site: