Morocco does not forgive Belgium and is a candidate for the round of 16 of Qatar 2022


Belgium grabbed Thibaut Courtois and luck to get the three points against Canada on their debut, but they lacked both this Sunday against a Morocco who, in addition to believing in everything they do, have a lot of football and are a candidate to be in the round of 16 of the World Cup after winning 0-2 with goals from Abdelhamid Sabiri in the 73rd minute, taking advantage of a mistake by the Belgian goalkeeper, and Zakaria Aboukhlal in the second minute of added time.

The game started off weird. Bono, the Sevilla goalkeeper, lined up with the rest of his teammates to hear the anthem sung by most of the Moroccan fans who gathered at the Al Thumama stadium, but seconds later he was not in the photo of the squad.

Munir played as a starter, who soon had to step in. He beat Batshuayi one-on-one.

It was a warning that Belgium would show a more serious face than against Canada, even if luck was not on their side this time. He dominated the ball, but it was difficult for him to generate static and also from set pieces. Three corners went into Hazard’s boots in the second game. Bad signal with Witsel, Onana, Alderweireld and Vertonghen on the green.

The minutes pass and anxiety takes hold of the Belgian footballers, who were unable to find even Kevin De Bruyne on a free transfer this Sunday. He has already said that he cannot play like him at Manchester City, where every three days he proves he is among the best in the world, but he is not showing his best version of him even in this World Cup.

Without his beacon, and with a Hazard receiving cracks every time he turned, without the yellow cards for his rivals he demanded in the run-up to the match, Belgium were left stranded. And it was Morocco that came closest to the goal.

Furthermore, he also opened the scoring. But Mexican referee César Arturo Ramos disallowed Hakim Ziyech’s free-kick because Romain Saiss, who had intervened in the game making a move to go for the ball, putting himself in Courtois’ field of vision, was offside.

An action that left Morocco hot on the way to the locker room. His coach, Walid Regragui, left applauding and with the face that the plan was working for him. And it took his players only 28 minutes to prove him right.

Roberto Martínez said Courtois was the best goalkeeper in the world. It was decisive against Canada and that’s what Belgium grabbed to survive, but in a match with fewer cracks globally, it was Courtois himself who failed.

Direct free-kick, wide, by Abdelhamid Sabiri who looks for the near post of the Belgian goalkeeper, who takes a step forward waiting for the cross and who condemns him. Furthermore, Saiss appeared to bother again, starting from a legal position, and the 0-1 remained on the board.

In case the big Moroccan fans needed anything, they enjoyed the final minutes as if they were hosting the World Cup. Belgium tried to equalize more in fits and starts than with clear ideas. Romelu Lukaku made his World Cup debut, with ten minutes to see if he caught any inside the area, but he didn’t even miss the chance.

Zakaria Aboukhlal does it, already with Belgium upside down, in the 92nd minute: a pass behind Ziyech and the Toulouse striker beats Courtois with a perfect finish. High shot attached to a stick.

A result that leaves Morocco with four points in Group F, Belgium with three, both awaiting what will happen in Croatia-Canada to hazard their guesses in search of the round of 16, but what is certain is that third-placed Russia 2018 will live three even more critical days leading up to the match that will define his future in Qatar 2022.

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