Spain have been savaged for their 'horrible' penalties after a shock loss to Morocco in the last 16 at the FIFA World Cup. With the score still locked at 0-0 after regulation and extra time, the match was decided in a penalty shootout.
And it was Morocco who held their nerve against the football heavyweights of Spain, winning the shootout 3-0. Pablo Sarabia, Carlos Soler and Sergio Busquets all missed their penalties for Spain, with Sarabia hitting the post and Morocco keeper Bono making two saves.
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It marks the third-consecutive major tournament in which Spain have been eliminated on penalties following the 2018 World Cup and Euros in 2021. As for Morocco, the North African nation are now the first Arab country ever to reach the last eight of the World Cup finals.
"We were unable to score ... so no matter how much we say that we deserved to win... it is not going to change anything," Spanish keeper Unai Simon said. "The only thing left for us is to accept that we have been eliminated."
Spain manager Luis Enrique added: "We completely dominated the match. It's a shame it went that way.
“It’s my responsibility. I picked the first three penalty-takers, and then they could decide themselves. But the first three were my decision, and I would've done the same thing again. The only thing I wished I could do was to take Bounou out and put another goalkeeper in there.”
Morocco are the first African team into the quarter-finals since Ghana at the 2010 World Cup, with only Senegal in 2002 and Cameroon in 1990 having done so previously.
"We fought and made the Moroccan people happy," coach Walid Regragui said. "We made history and Morocco deserve it, Moroccan people made us united on the pitch."
Morocco defender Jawad Yamiq said: "We honoured the Arab and African football, coach Regragui gave us the confidence that we needed in this game, a big boost in morale. We knew that Spain depend on their ball possession and we played with that in mind. They didn't impose any danger."
Spain's loss is the fifth-straight time they've played extra time in a knockout round of a major tournament. They played 120 minutes against Russia in 2018 and in all three of its knockout games at the Euros.
Moroccan fans were sent into an absolute frenzy over the shock win, while the Spanish were left to rue their woeful shootout. Fans and commentators described their penalty attempts as 'horrible' and 'shocking'.
These are shocking penalties by Spain.
— Caught Offside (@COsoccerpod) December 6, 2022
These nonchalant walks up to the penalty spot at a World Cup of all places is just very weird. Japan and Spain both awful from the spot.
— Leanne Prescott (@_lfcleanne) December 6, 2022
Penalties are so difficult, they destroy you emotionally.
You can be really happy for one team but destroyed for the others.
Commiserations Spain. Horrible to lose in such a way.
— Mina Rzouki (@Minarzouki) December 6, 2022
Big win for Morocco.
Horrible penalty shots for Spain. #FIFAWorldCup
— Amit Paranjape (@aparanjape) December 6, 2022
Some of these penalties we’ve seen from Japan and Spain have been absolutely pathetic.
— ًE. (@UtdEIIis) December 6, 2022
Never seen so many horrible penalty kicks wtf was that Spain
— G (@_gmedranoo) December 6, 2022
I honestly can’t believe Spain lost to Morocco tonight 😭😭😭😭
— Gummybear (@boobsarelit) December 6, 2022
That Spain penalty shootout was horrendous, arguably the worst ever, how do you miss three in a row 💀
— sushkebab01 (@sushkebab01) December 6, 2022
Morocco shock Spain in World Cup stunner
Morocco are only nation from outside the customary European-South American axis that has dominated the World Cup throughout it's 92-year history left in Qatar. They were heavily supported at the ground, with their their dogged and disciplined defending cheered on by locals, while Spain's passing carousel was whistled at incessantly.
Spain had failed to score in none of their previous 24 matches, dating back to June 2021. However the 90 minutes finished goalless and extra-time followed. Spain's best chance came with the very last kick of extra-time when Pablo Sarabia, a 119th-minute sub, struck the post from a tight angle.
A few minutes later Sarabia struck the other post, marking Spain's first penalty failure. Bono then saved from Soler and Busquets before Achraf Hakimi netted to put Morocco into the quarter-finals.
"Now the important thing is the team and not me, it's a difficult night and we will have to get up and use this experience, there are very young people who will be very useful and we must continue," Busquets said. "It was a shame, it was decided on penalties in the most cruel way. It was complicated, we tried to wear them down, turn them around, find spaces. We lacked luck from the last pass."
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