The African selection finishes in first place in group F
Morocco returns to the round of 16 of a World Cup after 36 years. The North Africans beat Canada (already eliminated) 2-1 and qualify as first of group F with 7 points, ahead of Croatia and Belgium (who do not go beyond 0-0 in their match). The goals by Ziyech and En-Nesyri in the first half were decisive, making Aguerd’s own goal irrelevant. Coach Regragui’s boys will play on 6 December against the runners-up in group E, the one against Spain and Germany.
Ready to go and Morocco immediately takes the lead and puts the qualification issue downhill. Indeed, after four minutes the Canadian goalkeeper Borjan makes an incredible mistake that paves the way for the North Africans: the goalkeeper comes out of the area to anticipate an opponent, but instead of sweeping a lateral foul, he looks for a pass for a teammate, however, serving Ziyech who thanks and from 30 meters he deposits the ball at the bottom of the unguarded goal. In the 14th minute the North Americans try to reply with a good restart at the end of which they become dangerous with Buchanan who doesn’t come by a hair’s breadth to the detour from close by. In the 23rd minute, however, the doubling arrives: Hakimi launches long for El-Nesyri’s shot who controls, resists Miller and beats Borjan at the near post from inside the area. In the 40th minute the goal came as a surprise which reopened the match with Adekugbe sinking in the right lane, kicking towards the center of the area finding Aguerd’s deflection who surprised his own goalkeeper Bounou and scored one of the most classic own goals. The third goal by the Moroccans would also arrive in the final, again with El-Nesyri, but it is still Aguerd, in a clear offside position, who frustrates everything.
In the second half, Morocco seems to want to control the match and ends everything in defense playing with ten men behind the ball line. In the 60th minute, the national team of the maple leaf is close to equal with Davies who in the split is unable to find the Moroccan goal after a cross from the right. In the 71st minute the North Americans still attack with Hutchinson who hits the crossbar with the ball from a corner which he then slams onto the line. The match continues without major upheavals, with Morocco wasting a few restarts but in the end can celebrate the conquest of the round of 16 as in 1986.