Morocco defeated Canada to finish first in Group F and go to the World Cup knockout stage for the first time in 36 years. The Atlas Lions, who reached the last 16 for the first time in 1986, finished ahead of 2018 finalists Croatia, while Belgium, rated second in the world, exited after coming third in the group. The next round will be a tough test for Morocco against the team that finishes second in Group E, which might be Spain or Germany.
Morocco took the lead after only four minutes, thanks to a goalkeeping error by Milan Borjan. The Canada goalkeeper rushed out of his goal, but the ball was intercepted by Ziyech, who lofted a calm finish into an open net from 30 yards.
Youssef En-Nesyri’s goal increased the north African side’s lead when he collected Achraf Hakimi’s brilliant assist before blasting in. However, Morocco’s defence allowed Canada to pull a goal back when West Ham’s Nayef Aguerd put a boot out to redirect the ball into his own net. His goal makes it the 100th goal of the 2022 World Cup.
Morocco was content to stay back and absorb up pressure in the second half, knowing that if they avoided a loss, they would advance. However, Atiba Hutchinson came close with a header that rattled the crossbar and dropped to the line as Canada’s journey came to an end without a point.
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