By: Michelle Liew
Morocco stunned former champions Spain to reach the World Cup quarterfinals as right-back Achraf Hakimi scored the decisive spot kick in a penalty shootout following a 0-0 draw at Education City.
The Paris Saint-Germain defender Hakimi scored with a Panenka penalty after Spain missed three spot-kicks and exited with a 3-0 shootout defeat. Morocco made history by reaching their first quarterfinal and also becoming the first nation of the Arab world to progress to the quarterfinals.
"We come in with a winner's attitude, we want to hoist our Moroccan flag," he said. "And yes all Arabs and Africans. We want their prayers and their support. Before it was just the Moroccans, now we're going to add the Africans and the Arabs,” says coach Walid Regragui.
Morocco have made it into the quarterfinals is huge for this World Cup and the region.
"We felt the support of our fans, be it in Morocco or any other country in the world, this gives us the impetus to give such a performance. When you're in the thick of it, you can't really realize what you've achieved, we need to remain focused but as time goes on, maybe we'll realize what we've just achieved,” states goalkeeper Yassine Bounou.
"We have to congratulate the winners. They played their game, it turned out well, they were better than us in the penalty shootout. I think children have to learn how to lose, regardless of whether you deserve it or not,” adds Spain coach Luis Enrique.
"Football is a marvellous, passionate sport, but a team can win without attacking. Morocco attacked once or twice and were dangerous, but we dominated the game completely, and tried to create. We would have liked to create more. It was hard for us. We had 11 shots I think but few on goal. In the final move of the game Pablo Sarabia hit the post. The penalty shootout was hard for us. But I'm proud of my players."