Morocco turn on cruise mode
An impassioned Moroccan team clinched a spot in the last-16 of the World Cup for the first time since 1986 by defeating the already-eliminated Canadians 2-1 today, mercilessly capitalising on their opponents’ blunders.
Morocco, who needed a win or a draw in their final Group F match to reach the knockout rounds, took advantage of a weak clearance by goalkeeper Milan Borjan that landed on the foot of Hakim Ziyech.
Cheered on by a boisterous crowd of Moroccan fans, midfielder Ziyech effortlessly lobbed the ball over the stranded goalkeeper to open scoring in the fourth minute.
Borjan had been placed in an unenviable position by central defender Steven Vitoria, whose weak back pass forced the goalkeeper to race Moroccan forward Youssef En-Nesyri to the ball.
En-Nesyri remained dangerous throughout the first half, doubling Morocco’s lead in the 23rd minute when he ran onto a long ball from Achraf Hakimi and beat Borjan at the near post.
Croatia in, Belgium out
Al Rayyan: Croatia reached the last-16 after a tension-filled 0-0 draw with Belgium that ensured the last hurrah of the Belgian ‘golden generation’ ended in a dismal group-stage exit.
Roberto Martinez’s side, ranked second in the world and semifinalists four years ago, needed a win at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium to keep their hopes alive but could not break down the Croats who finished as Group F runners up behind Morocco.