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Morocco
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Spain
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World Cup score: Spain eliminated as Morocco advance to quarterfinal thanks to Yassine Bounou's penalty saves

Morocco are into the FIFA 2022 World Cup quarterfinals after a 3-0 penalty shootout win over Spain at Education City Stadium on Tuesday. After 120 minutes of pretty dire soccer, the Atlas Lions triumphed from the spot thanks to Yassine Bounou's heroics. Substitute pair Pablo Sarabia and Carlos Soler were both thwarted from the spot as was captain Sergio Busquets at the end of a draining encounter.

"It is a tremendous achievement and they were all patched up, they all showed tremendous determination," said coach Walid Regragui. "We knew we had tremendous support behind us and we drew from that the energy to give that performance tonight."

The first half started in a raucous atmosphere created by a majority Moroccan crowd at Education City Stadium and Walid Regragui's men were motivated and straight into La Roja. Achraf Hakimi curled a free kick narrowly over despite the Spanish enjoying around 80% of the ball in the early stages.

The closest there was to a first half goal in Al Rayyan came when Gavi's effort was deflected onto the woodwork and Ferran Torres was unable to follow up. However, the flag was up and it would not have counted anyway and Marco Asensio wasted another chance minutes later.

Nayef Aguerd and Noussair Mazraoui tried to break the deadlock before the break but were unable to find a way past Unai Simon. Bounou was also alert as he kept out Dani Olmo just before the game went to half time.

Alvaro Morata was sent on for the final 30 minutes in search of a goal but he and his Spanish teammates were unable to muster up much in Al Rayyan. Aguerd was forced off and replaced by Jawad El Yamiq but it did not make the Moroccans any less solid at the back.

Hakimi and Sofyan Amrabat helped the North Africans to hold on at the end of 90 minutes before Olmo wasted a good late chance after Pedri set him up. Nothing could separate the two sides so it went to extra time.

Simon came close to gifting Morocco a goal which would have been decisive at that moment but he atoned for it with a brilliant save which effectively sent the game to penalties. Pablo Sarabia came on and hit the post at the death, but it was not enough and it went down to the spot.

This is when Bounou wrote himself into Moroccan soccer history with three saves to deny Sarabia, Carlos Soler, and Sergio Busquets just the day after Dominik Livakovic made a trio of saves to help Croatia advance. Simon did deny Badr Benoun but it did not matter and it was fitting that Hakimi stepped up to score against his birth nation with a fabled panenka effort.

"I think it is impossible you do that without these fans," said Regragui. "They are coming to the hotel, wanting tickets, a lot of fans came to Qatar to support the team, from America, from Europe and Morocco. They love the country and what I can tell them is we have done nothing. I need them for the quarter-finals but I am very proud of my fans and of my people. [Spain are] one of the best teams in the world, if not the best. We couldn't play too high up the pitch because that was what they wanted us to do. We were patient and knew if we got there we had a chance with one of the best goalkeepers in the world. We fought for it."

Luis Enrique's Spain only have themselves to blame after following up their fast start against Costa Rica with a draw against Germany and a loss to Japan which put a swift end to their prolific promise and leaves them exiting in underwhelming fashion.

"I chose the takers, I thought they were the best on the pitch," Enrique said. "[If I could change something] I would take [Morocco goalkeeper Yassine] Bounou away and put another goalkeeper there. [Penalties] are not a lottery for me. You have to control yourself. What we did was dominate the game but we lacked the goal, that is the reality, that is the truth."

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FT: Morocco 0-0 Spain (3-0 on penalties)

A largely forgettable match which will live long in the memory of Moroccan fans because of penalties. Sarabia, Soler, and Busquets all failed from the spot as the Atlas Lions advance!

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Morocco win!

Busquets fails to convert from the spot and Hakimi fires Morocco into the quarterfinals!

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Soler denied!

Bounou saves from Soler as Spain miss their first two kicks! Simon then saves from Benoun!

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Spot kicks underway

Morocco score first through Sabiri! Sarabia then hits the post!

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Penalties!

Sarabia inches away from scoring almost immediately after coming on as he hits the post. Now this one will be decided from the spot!

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HT in ET: Morocco 0-0 Spain

Still goalless here in Al Rayyan with just 15 minutes of extra time to come for someone to find a goal before we go to penalties. Might Simon have sent this game beyond 120 with that save?

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Tedious Spain

The Spanish were quick favorites after they thumped Costa Rica, but have made hard work of it since. Whatever happens next, they have been underwhelming. Simon with a save to keep them in this and with a chance of getting to penalties.

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FT: Morocco 0-0 Spain -- ET to come

We are in for 30 more minutes of this as it goes to extra time at Education City Stadium. A determined effort from Morocco while Spain have lacked cutting edge and real purpose. We will see if there is to be a winner without the need for penalties.

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5 added minutes

Not exactly what the world wanted to hear, but many will be hoping that there is a winner in these next few minutes to avoid extra time. Simon nearly gifts Morocco a late goal which at this point would be decisive.

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Aguerd injured

This has the potential to be a big blow for the Moroccans as the West Ham man is forced off and replaced by Jawad El Yamiq. Hakimi also created a good opening moments ago, but the Atlas Lions have not made the breakthrough yet. Amrabat with a block as Morocco try to hang on for extra time. Olmo then wastes a possible late Spanish chance after being teed up by Pedri.

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Not a classic

After yesterday's flurry of goals, this one has not been the best value for goals with precious few real chances on goal. Could we see a late winner before the end of 90? The longer this goes on, the more it appears to favor Spain with their deeper squad.

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Morata is on

Into the final 30 and Alvaro Morata is now on as La Roja search for goals which have started to be elusive again after their initial goal glut.

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Back underway

The action is back on at Education City Stadium and Morocco are once again pressing to break the deadlock. Still no breakthrough, though. Bounou does well to deny Olmo just now.

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HT: Morocco 0-0 Spain

Chances for both sides, but no breakthrough yet. The Atlas Lions were arguably faring better as the half came to a close. Boufal has been outstanding for the Moroccans, but can they make one of their second half chances count?

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Half time approaching

It is almost time for the break. Aguerd went close just now, but still no breakthrough. Mazraoui has had a go too. Nothing giving for the moment on either side.

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Spain hit the bar!

The flag was up for offside, but Gavi sees his effort deflected onto the woodwork. Torres is denied on the follow-up. Still 0-0, but things are heating up nicely. Boufal also giving Llorente nightmares. Asensio just went close too! 

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Motivated Morocco

Perhaps due to the deafening roar of their supporters and incessant whistling, the Atlas Lions look up for this one so far. Walid Regragui's men are straight onto their Spanish opponents and not allowing them a moment on the ball. Achraf Hakimi has sent a free kick just over already, but it is the Spanish who are absolutely bossing possession at over 80% of the ball.

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Underway

This one has started in Al Rayyan! Could we be about to go beyond 90 again? Morocco with an early advantage after a superb rendition of their national anthem. What an atmosphere! 

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Spain advantage?

La Roja are unbeaten in three meetings with Morocco. However, both wins came in a two-legged qualifying playoff back in 1962. This is the Atlas Lions' first knockout foray since 1986 and only their second ever. It is also a four-game unbeaten run for the Moroccans with Cameroon the only African side to better that record. Alvaro Morata has scored in each of his last three World Cup outings and in just 126 minutes across all of those appearances. David Villa back in 2010 is the only Spaniard to score in four consecutive games at a World Cup.

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Recap

Morocco topped Group F with seven points after an unbeaten run against Croatia, Belgium, and Canada. With two wins from those games, they are arguably in better form that Spain. La Roja finished second in Group E to Japan who has since been eliminated by Croatia. A draw and a loss after an impressive opening 7-0 win over Costa Rica means that Luis Enrique's men are less fancied than when the tournament got underway.

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Starting XIs

The big news for Spain is that Alvaro Morata is back to his impact substitute role despite starting and scoring vs. Japan. Ferran Torres also comes back in with Aymeric Laporte restored to the defense. Selim Amallah in for Abdelhamid Sabiri is the only major Moroccan change.

Morocco: Bounou; Hakimi, Aguerd, Saiss (c), Mazraoui; Ounahi, Amrabat, Amallah; Ziyech, En-Nesyri, Boufal.

Spain: Simon; Llorente, Rodri, Laporte, Alba; Gavi Busquets (c), Pedri; Torres, Asensio, Olmo.

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Welcome

Thank you for joining me, Jonathan Johnson, for our coverage of Morocco vs. Spain. Team news in just a moment as we head into the final day of Round of 16 before the first rest day of this entire tournament. We saw Croatia and Japan go all the way to penalties yesterday before the one-sided affair which was Brazil vs. South Korea. What will today's action bring us?

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