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Morocco deny spirited Canada to create World Cup history after topping Group F

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Morocco had to work hard to achieve it thanks to an energetic Canada, but two goals in the first half were enough to secure their qualification for the round of 16 of the World Cup for the second time in history after a 2-1 victory. .

Riding on the height of their heroic victory over Belgium in their last game, one of the most famous victories in African sporting history, Morocco are the second team from the continent to reach the round of 16 after Senegal booked an appointment with England. , and progress amazingly as group winners.

Belgium’s miserable month ended in further catastrophe, as their failure to beat Croatia means one of the pre-tournament favorites retires, and Morocco become the first African team to reach the last 16 of the World Cup. World as group winners since Nigeria in 1998. But they were made to work very hard for their success by a team from Canada that finished in vain, despite their best efforts.

After a raucous rendition of the Moroccan national anthem at the Al Thumama Stadium that could not have failed to awaken the Arab nation from any lingering slumber, Canada immediately went on its guard.

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What the Canadians needed to do if they were to have any chance of playing their first World Cup match was simply to steady the ship, not let in early goals and avoid making mistakes as much as possible.

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However, goalkeeper Milan Borjan didn’t get the note, instead giving Morocco their first Christmas present when he took a hard touch as he ran off his goal line, passing the ball straight to Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech, who passed it on. above the stranded plug. first time to give his team a fourth-minute lead.

With his team well up front, the boisterous Moroccan crowd broke through the “ole’s” before the 20th minute was up, such was the superiority of his team at that point, with that dominance extended after Achraf Hakimi played a sumptuous pass through Youssef En -Nesyri, who shot on goal, becoming the first Moroccan in history to score in two World Cups.

This Moroccan team had every reason to be ultra-comfortable at this stage, having not conceded a goal in their last six games, but luck was not on their side when West Ham defender Nayef Aguerd inadvertently deflected a low center to their own net to give Canada a lifeline.

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En-Nesyri thought he had scored Morocco’s third before the break, but his shot was disallowed for offside against Aguerd in Borjan’s line of sight. The Sevilla forward did not see the referee’s call and completed his celebration, before turning around to see that all his teammates had returned to their positions.

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Canada’s goal seemed to give their fans a voice, and Morocco’s lead suddenly looked very precarious. Bayern Munich full-back Alphonso Davies plays center forward for his country as they feel he is wasted further back, nearly level early in the second half but pushed wide down the stretch.

There was almost a fairy tale ending for substitute Atiba Hutchinson, Canada’s most-capped player of all time, in his 101st appearance and likely last in red, but his agonizing header fell off the crossbar, bounced off the goal line and could not be deflected. home on the bounce

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Canada kept coming, Morocco sat deeper and deeper, but even with all their attacking options off the bench thrown in, they couldn’t find that leveler to secure a first point in the final.

There was utter jubilation at the final whistle, with knee slides and the coach thrown into the air there. For the first time since 1986, Morocco is in the last 16 of the World Cup, and it means everything to them.

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