World Cup 2022 – Morocco match preview

The penultimate round of 16 will be played on Tuesday afternoon between Spain and Morocco, who will meet at the Education City Stadium. The African team is motivated by the unexpected first place in the group, while the Spaniards want to correct the not so good impression of their performances so far. It should therefore be one of the most balanced duels of the round of 16.

Coach Regragui’s team is having a very successful tournament so far. In the unpredictable Group F, which included the second and third teams of the last World Cup, namely Croatia and Belgium, supplemented by Canada, he managed to pick up seven points and dominate the group. The big surprise was above all the victory over the Belgians, in a ratio of 2:0, thanks to goals from Saïss and Aboukhlal in the second half. This victory foreshadowed the early end of the “Red Devils” in the tournament.

Then on Thursday, the Moroccans took on Canada and secured promotion from first place ahead of the Croatians. Furthermore, they managed to do so for only the second time in history, the first time it happened in 1986, when they won their group ahead of England, Poland and Portugal. However, according to the rules of the time, when only two points were awarded for a win, it was enough that they only won against Portugal, in the other two matches they only played a goalless draw. They were then eliminated by the Germans in the round of 16.

After thirty-six years, “La Roja” would like to repeat the feat and they were probably responsible for the biggest surprise of the entire group stage this year: the elimination of Germany, “blamed” by the Spaniards not only drawing with them 1:1, but above all losing completely unexpectedly in the last group game against Japan.

Although Enrique’s men took the lead in the 11th minute after Morata’s goal, the winger was able to get back up and turn the game around with strikes from Doan and Tanaka. In doing so, he relegated Spain to the runners-up finish and at the same time saddened all sixteen German states.

The team from the Iberian peninsula certainly has a lot to fix in front of its fans. Also, they certainly have fresh memories of the meeting between the two Russian teams four years ago. There, in the group stage, the two teams separated amicably, but it must be added that neither of the two teams had anything to play for at the time, the Spanish were almost certain to go through, while Morocco, on the other hand, knew that this was the their last tournament appearance.

This year the situation is diametrically different, as Luis Enrique also knows, who said before the match: “We are footballers, just like them. I am convinced that in some moments Morocco will put us under pressure. Other teams are retreating and defending, we are still attacking, so obviously we need to improve.”

He should work with the full lineup on Tuesday, only Azpilicueta has slight problems with a sore calf. Morocco has a similar situation with absences. Achraf Hakimi’s ankle is bothering him, but he should be ready to jump into the match from the first minute.

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