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Spain out of the World Cup after losing to Morocco on penalties

La Roja weren't able to break through their opponents' defence despite clearly being on top for 120 minutes

shay conaghan

Tuesday, 6 December 2022, 18:53

Spain's 2022 Qatar World Cup tournament has come to an abrupt end as they lost 3-0 to Morocco in the penalty shoot-out this Tuesday, 6 December. La Roja dominated for much of the 120 minutes, but didn't find a way to break through their opponents' defence in this round-of-16 match.

Luis Enrique returned to his strongest starting eleven after Spain's most recent defeat to Japan in their final group stage game, while also bringing in Marcos Llorente at right-back.

Morocco's plan was very clear from the start: allow Spain to have the possession of the ball and try and hit them on the counterattack to hopefully get an opener.

Pointless possession

La Roja did well to keep hold of the ball and were able to deny the Moroccans any chance of attack. At the same time, Luis Enrique's men struggled to build passages of play that ended in chances for them.

The 90 minutes played out in the same way, with Spain constantly trying to break through Morocco's tight, defensive lines; while the North Africans had a couple of clear chances saved by Unai Simón.

During the half-hour long extra-time period, the game was even more neutral. Both sides were keen to score, but not enough to risk conceding at the other end.

Luis Enrique's side had the opportunity to snatch a goal at the death, with Pablo Sarabia's shot hitting the post and eventually going wide.

Pitiful penalties

Despite their best intentions, Spain finished with 75% possession and a measly two shots on goal in over 120 minutes of football.

La Roja went on to perform badly in the penalty shoot-out. Morocco scored their first two penalties as Spain missed their two, though some hope was restored when Benoun was unable to score the North Africans' third.

However, Busquets didn't take the chance to pull a goal back and missed his shot, while Achram Hakimi scored Morocco's third penalty to book his side's place in Saturday's quarter-final game against either Portugal or Switzerland.

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