First-half objectives from Hakim Ziyech and Youssef En-Nesyri helped Morocco to a 2-1 victory over Canada that noticed them safe prime spot in Group F and a spot within the final 16 of the World Cup for the primary time in 36 years.
Morocco have been drawn in a tough group, together with Croatia and Belgium, who completed second and third respectively in 2018, however took 4 factors from the European groups earlier than holding on for victory in opposition to Canada of their closing group sport.
Morocco now play Spain in Al Rayyan on Tuesday after Luis Enrique’s facet completed second in Group E.
A win for Croatia over Belgium – which got here similtaneously Morocco performed Canada – may have seen the North Africans drop to second, however it was the Croatians who completed as runners-up after drawing 0-0 with Roberto Martinez’s outfit, who crashed out within the group stage.
Canada, enjoying of their first World Cup since 1986, pulled a objective again simply earlier than half-time when Nayef Aguerd inadvertently turned Sam Adekugbe’s cross into his personal internet, however finally completed backside of the desk, with no level.
- Canada made 4 adjustments to their facet, bringing in Adekugbe, Osorio, Kaye and Hoilett for Laryea, Hutchinson, Eustaquio and David
- Bounou returned in objective for Morocco after his late withdrawal in opposition to Belgium, whereas Sabiri additionally began, with Munir and Amallah dropping out
How Morocco gained
Morocco knew a spot within the final 16 could be theirs in the event that they prevented defeat to Canada and so they got an early enhance en path to victory by Milan Borjan, when the goalkeeper handed the ball straight to Ziyech, who flicked the ball again over his head and into the void community after simply 4 minutes.
Morocco then strengthened their grip on a spot within the knockout phases when En-Nesyri ran onto Achraf Hakimi’s via ball earlier than curling a shot previous Borjan at his close to publish.
Large moments within the sport…
- 4 min: Ziyech squeezes in from vary to provide Morocco the lead after Borjan’s howler
- 15 min: Canada’s Buchanan simply fails to show in Larin’s cross on the counter assault
- 23 min: En-Nesyri drills in Morocco’s second after latching on to Hakimi’s go
- 40 min: Aguerd turns Adekugbe’s cross into his personal internet to provide Canada a lifeline
- 45+3 min: En-Nesyri’s second dominated out for offside in opposition to Aguerd
- 58 min: Davies pokes Hoilett’s cross extensive of the close to publish
- 71 min: Hutchinson’s header hits the crossbar and simply fails to cross the road
Canada struggled to play via their opponents, with Tajon Buchanan’s far publish likelihood from Cyle Larin’s cross their solely opening within the first half, however got here again into the sport via an unlikely supply.
Aguerd caught out a leg as Adekugbe’s left cross flashed throughout the Morocco field, with the West Ham defender’s contact guiding the ball previous Yassine Bounou at his close to publish.
En-Nesyri had one other objective dominated out for offside in opposition to the fortunate Aguerd in first-half stoppage time, however within the second half Walid Regragui’s facet took a step again, clearly blissful to guard their lead.
Canada took the initiative, with Ismael Kone impressing off the bench and Atiba Hutchinson seeing a header hit the underside of the crossbar and bounce onto the objective line in what was prone to be his closing worldwide, however they might not discover an equalizer and fell to their sixth defeat in six WC matches.
Canada: Borjan (4), Johnston (6), Vitoria (5), Miller (5), Adekugbe (5), Osorio (5), Kaye (5), Davies (6), Buchanan (6), Larin (5), Hoilett (7).
Subs: David (5), Hutchinson (6), Kone (7), Laryea (5), Wotherspoon (6).
Morocco: Bounou (6), Hakimi (7), Aguerd (5), Saiss (6), Mazraoui (6), Ounahi (7), Amrabat (7), Sabiri (6), Ziyech (8), En-Nesyri (8 ) Boufal (6).
Subs: Aboukhlal (5), Amallah (5), Hamdallah (5), El Yamiq (5).
Participant of the match: Hakim Ziyech
What does the outcome imply?
Morocco’s win means they prime Group F on seven factors, whereas Canada leaves the World Cup with three consecutive defeats.
Croatia took second place with their 0-0 draw in opposition to Belgium, whose group stage exit is certain to carry the curtain down on their ‘Golden Era’.
Group E runners-up Spain face Morocco, whereas winners Japan face Croatia.
Participant of the match – Hakim Ziyech
Ziyech has struggled to indicate his undoubted expertise since becoming a member of Chelsea in 2020, however it was on show for Morocco as they noticed off Canada.
The winger was composed to raise the ball over Borjan to provide Morocco the lead when Canada’s keeper offered him with possession early within the sport and he continued to be on the coronary heart of the North Africans’ spectacular efficiency.
From the suitable of a entrance three, Ziyech linked nicely with right-back Hakimi and striker En-Nesyri to indicate why Regragui was so eager to carry him again from worldwide exile.
Chelsea supporters might be hoping that this model of Ziyech returns from Qatar and that he can lastly present the standard that satisfied them to signal him from Ajax.
What the bosses stated…
John HerdmanCanada’s supervisor, bemoaned the very fact Hutchinson’s header didn’t cross the road because the nation’s quest for its first World Cup factors continues.
To speak to BBCstated the Englishman: “We have been two inches away from scoring the primary factors for Canada. We have been keen the ball to go over the road however it did not.
“We confirmed Canadian grit and spirit. Typically we confirmed high quality. I am pleased with what these guys have proven right here. It will sting. However we competed in each sport.
“There’s a high quality hole and we are attempting to bridge it. We are going to continue learning and we’ll come again stronger. That is our first step into the nice unknown. We discovered lots of issues – we are able to compete and we have been shut.”
Walid Regragui was in bullish temper after full-time, saying: “We will be a really robust staff to beat.”
Morocco turned the second African staff to qualify for the spherical of 16 in Qatar – after Senegal – whereas Cameroon and Ghana nonetheless have an opportunity of creating the knockout.
“I believe African groups can go far,” Regragui predicted. “Why should not we dream of successful the World Cup?”
Davies drowned amid Canadian tinkering
Certainly one of Canada’s hallmarks throughout John Herdman’s tenure in cost has been their capacity to adapt to the supervisor’s varied tweaks to the formation.
When it really works, altering methods from sport to sport will help a facet punch above its weight by nullifying the opponents’ strengths and exposing their weaknesses. Herdman guided Canada to their first World Cup in 36 years, so it is onerous to argue with the Englishman’s perspective.
However when the tinkering backfires, it may well make a staff look messy – an outline that may be likened to Canada in Qatar.
Their three video games noticed them line up in three totally different formations, whereas Alphonso Davies – arguably the star of Canadian soccer – was given three totally different beginning positions and frequently moved across the subject as Herdman made additional changes to the sport.
Davies frequently strains up at left-back for his membership, Bayern Munich, however the scorecard under exhibits simply how diversified his utilization was with Canada on the World Cup.
Whereas it is common for worldwide groups to make use of gamers in another way than they’re deployed at membership degree – Actual Madrid defender David Alaba usually performs in midfield or on the wing for Austria, for instance – Canada did not appear to know tips on how to get the perfect out of Davies.
The 22-year-old performed at fullback, on each flanks in a 4-4-2 and as a part of a entrance two, however Canada’s incapacity to make him the point of interest of their play is proven by the very fact he managed only one shot through the match.
It is onerous to be too onerous on Canada, as they shut out Belgium of their opening sport and took the lead of their second in opposition to Croatia.
However the method during which they fell to defeat in opposition to Croatia after which failed to answer Herdman’s adjustments in opposition to Morocco raised the query of how they’d have carried out with a extra decided technique.
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