Qatar 2022: Morocco, Croatia progress to World Cup knockout stages as Belgium, Canada crash out
Atlas Lions of Morocco on Thursday became the second African nation to progress to the knockout phase of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar following an impressive 2-1 victory over Canada in their final group game.
Having won one and drawn the other of their first two group games in the competition, Morocco only needed a draw against Canada, who had already crashed out of the tournament.
But the massive win for the North Africans ensured they finished top of Group F.
Hakim Ziyech put Morocco upfront only four minutes into the fixture after an error by Canada goalkeeper Milan Borjan before Youssef En-Nesyri doubled the lead in the 23rd minute, in what was his second goal of the competition.
However, Canada pulled one back a few minutes before the half time whistle from an own-goal by Nayef Aguerd to make it 2-1.
It was quiet in the second half of the encounter at the Al-Thumama Stadium as there was no goal in the second 45 minutes. The only real chance of the half came in the 71st minute but Canada’s effort to score an equaliser struck the bar.
The two first half goals were enough for Morocco to finish top of the group with seven points and a spot for the Atlas Lions in the FIFA World Cup round of 16.
Morocco will face the runners up of Group E for a place in the quarterfinals – a possibility of facing either one of the four teams in the group consisting of Spain, Japan, Costa Rica and Germany.
Croatia finished second in Group F following a goalless draw with Belgium and will face any of the four teams in Group E in the round of 16.
The result implies that the third place winners of the last edition Belgium and Canada are out of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
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