Spain’s hopes of a second World Cup victory came to a crashing end at the hands of Morocco as they lost on penalties against the African side. The game ended 0-0 after extra time and proceeded to penalties where Pablo Sarabia, Carlos Soler, and Sergio Busquets all missed as Morocco advanced to the quarter-finals.
To add insult to injury, Madrid-born Achraf Hakimi scored the winning penalty for Morocco with an audacious Panenka kick.Skip Ad
SPAIN FALL TO MOROCCO IN PENALTIES AND ARE OUT OF THE WORLD CUP
La Roja manager Luis Enrique spoke to the press about his role with the Spanish side after the match. He said:
“Next week we will speak and discuss about my future, now it’s not the right moment — I’m the one responsible.”
Spain started their World Cup campaign in sensational fashion in Group E, beating Costa Rica 7-0. They followed it up with an entertaining 1-1 draw against Germany and were beaten 2-1 by Japan in their final group game.
Morocco, on the other hand, topped Group F with an amazing 2-0 victory over Belgium, along with a 0-0 draw against Croatia, and a 2-1 victory over Canada.
Spain became the first side to be knocked out of four different World Cups on penalties and became the only side since Switzerland in the 2006 edition to not score a single spot kick.
There is reasonable concern over their recent performances, as they have been knocked out of their last three major tournaments on penalties. These include disappointing losses to Russia in the 2018 World Cup in the Round of 16, Italy in the Euro 2020 semi-finals, and now to Morocco in the Round of 16 yet again. It remains to be seen if they will make a managerial change to reverse their fortunes.
Spain’s penalty practice falls short as they fail to score a single spot kick
Manager Luis Enrique could barely believe what he saw as his team missed three consecutive penalties to lose to Morocco in the World Cup Round of 16. In an earlier press conference, Enrique claimed that the Spaniards had undergone extensive practice for this very situation, but came a cropper when it mattered the most. He said:
“I imagine that they have done their homework. Over a year ago, in one of the Spain camps, I told them they had to get here with at least 1,000 penalties taken. If you wait until getting here to practise penalties… [it won’t be enough].”
“It’s a moment of maximum tension, a time to show your nerve and that you can shoot the penalty in the way you have decided, if you have trained it a thousand times. It says a lot about each player. It’s trainable, manageable, how you manage the tension. It’s increasingly less luck – the goalkeepers have more influence. We have a very good goalkeeper, any of the three can do very well in this situation. Every time we finish training, I see a lot of players taking penalties.”
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