Courage and envy at a meeting with the finalist and semi-finalist of the previous draw can give four points. After a 2-0 victory over the overly timid Belgians, Morocco is now in charge of its own destiny before meeting Canada next Thursday, where a draw will be enough for them to advance to the round of 16. Atlas Lions may not be the most talented African team, but the heart still fills the gap.
Belgium – Morocco will not leave unforgettable impressions from this World Cup, but it started with a rather rare event of this level. However, Moroccan goalkeeper Yassin Bounu, who was present during the national anthems, was replaced early in the match by Munir El Cajouy. The latter, not really baffled by this odd tenure, stands out first against Batshuayi (5th) before ex-Parisian Thomas Meunier’s (19th) throw fails. Did you like this lack of precision? So the rest of this first period, technically poor, will please you.
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Shots wide of Ziyech (28th) and Hakimi (35th) from the Moroccan side. And a free kick from De Bruyne, who flies into the stands along with the Belgians (39th). Among the latter, the absence of Lukaku and his weight on the opponent’s defense are acutely felt. Nothing is smooth. Everything seems clumsy in the game The famous Seum of the Belgians four years earlier seems to be conveyed to those who, in the stadium or in front of the TV, infuse themselves with what looks like one of the most beautiful purges of the competition at the moment.
Morocco, less technically gifted, plays boldly, if not accurately. And even screams with joy in stoppage time when Ziyech’s eccentric free-kick hits the net. But in the game, Romain Saiss was offside and, even if he did not touch the ball, prevented Thibault Courtois from getting out. And the goal after the intervention of VAR was abandoned correctly.
This heatstroke does not wake up the Belgians, who continue to persist in their refusal to play high and take charge. The Moroccans, at least, are trying. As evidenced by curling from Bufal (57th place). And since football is sometimes moral, it is the Moroccans who ultimately find the culprit. Sabiri’s off-centre free kick goes into goal. Again Romain Saiss interfered with Courtois, but there was no offside (0:1, 73rd). The stadium, two-thirds Moroccan, explodes.
Annoyed, Belgium finally rushes to the gate. But despite Lukaku’s exit, no imagination. And in extra time, the exit of Abbuhal (0-2, 90+3) completes the intrigue. The most determined won.