QATAR: With the 2-1 victory over Canada, Morocco rose to the top of Group F at the World Cup. The victory secured its first appearance in the round of 16 since 1986. Canada was already out of the World Cup before the match on Thursday.
Morocco bags the victory with a blazing finisher
Morocco, which needed to win or draw their final Group F match to advance to the knockout stages, scored after four minutes when Hakim Ziyech took advantage of Milan Borjan’s poor clearance.
Midfielder Ziyech effortlessly chucked the ball over the stranded goalkeeper, supported by a raucous Moroccan crowd.
Borjan was forced to chase Moroccan forward Youssef En-Nesyri for the ball by central defender Steven Vitoria’s weak back pass, putting Borjan in an unpleasant position.
En-Nesyri looked in ominous touch throughout the first half. He doubled Morocco’s lead in the 23rd minute by beating Borjan at the near post after running onto a long ball from Achraf Hakimi.
In the first half’s stoppage time, En-Nesyri hit a volley into the Canadian goal, but the goal was ruled offside, thus disallowing it. Morocco finished first in Group F and will play the second-place finishers in Group E.
In the 40th minute, Moroccan defender Nayef Aguerd accidentally scored Canada’s first World Cup own goal by flicking a cross from Sam Adekugbe past his own goalkeeper Yassine Bounou.
Canada, the United States, and Mexico will serve as co-hosts of the 2026 World Cup after exiting their first World Cup without a victory since 1986.
Morocco was placed in a group with tough opponents like Croatia and Belgium, who finished second and third in the 2018 World Cup, respectively. However, they were able to take four points off the European teams before holding on to win their final group game against Canada.
Morocco will now play with Spain, Japan, Costa Rica, or Germany, whichever ends up as the runners-up in Group E.