Morocco enjoyed the best day in their footballing history after deservedly beating Spain on penalties after Luis Enrique’s side failed to score any of their three spot-kicks.
Though it ended in a 0-0 draw, Morocco’s defence stultified Spain, and created several opportunities of their own in extra-time. Achraf Hakimi sent Morocco through with an incredibly composed finish, sending his nation further than they have ever been before.
Morocco also cleverly kept Spain fulcrum Sergio Busquets out of the game, pressuring the pass-master throughout, ensuring he completed fewer than 25 passes by half-time, significantly under his usual numbers. Sofiane Boufal looked to have the beating of Marcos Llorente, playing his first minutes of the tournament at right-back. Nayef Aguerd headed over the best chance for Walid Regragui’s side.
Despite this good work, it was Spain who had the slightly better opportunities in normal time. Ferran Torres and Gavi both could have scored — though offside was a concern — while Marco Asensio fired a shot into the near side-netting soon after.
With 10 minutes remaining, Alvaro Morata was given a sight of goal after good work from the impressive substitute Nico Williams, but his shot trickled across the face of goal, barely missing the far corner.
With seconds left in normal time, Pedri’s in swinging freekick avoided any touch, but Morocco goalkeeper Bounou was impressively alert to push the goalbound cross away.
Walid Cheddira may have had a chance for Morocco early in extra-time. One-on-one with Unai Simon, he scuffed his shot. The flag went up, but replays showed that he may well have been given onside had he scored.
Spain were the more dominant team in extra-time, with Morocco happier to sit back, but they still struggled to create clear opportunities, frustrated by calm yet committed defending. Instead, Cheddira crafted yet another chance with tricky feet, only to fire straight at Simon from eight yards out. His night was not yet done — he raced clear after 114 minutes, only to run out of energy, and fail to get a shot off.