Morocco stuns Colombia 1-0 to secure spot in World Cup Round of 16

Sofia Bouftini and her Moroccan teammates celebrate advancing to the knockout stage on Thursday in Perth.

Sofia Bouftini and her Moroccan teammates celebrate advancing to the knockout stage on Thursday in Perth. Photo: Getty

Morocco has pipped Germany for a spot in the round of 16 at the Women’s World Cup after posting a shock 1-0 win over Colombia in Perth.

A first-half strike to Anissa Lahmari and some heroic goalkeeping from Khadija Er-Rmich were enough to secure the win for Morocco in front of 17,342 mostly Colombian fans.

After beating Colombia, world No.72 Morocco faced a nervous few minutes waiting for the final result of the Germany-South Korea game, which was locked at 1-1 deep into added time.

A German win would have tumbled Morocco to third in Group H, but South Korea held on to spark wild celebrations among the Moroccan players who had assembled in a circle.

Morocco already made history by becoming the first Arab and North African nation to qualify for the Women’s World Cup.

Now, it will take on Group F winners France in the round of 16 in Adelaide on Tuesday.

Despite the shock loss, Colombia still finished on top of Group H courtesy of its wins over South Korea and Germany and a superior goal difference to Morocco.

World No.25 Colombia will take on Jamaica in Melbourne on Tuesday.

Colombia defender Manuela Vanegas will miss that match after picking up her second yellow card of the group stage.

Clear-cut chances were few and far between early on Thursday night, but the game exploded in first-half added time when Colombia defender Daniela Arias gave away a penalty for her clumsy shove on Ibtissam Jraidi.

Goalkeeper Catalina Perez dived to her left to block Ghizlane Chebbak’s penalty, but Sakina Ouzraoui pounced on the rebound before squaring it to Lahmari, who tapped in from close range.

Morocco had only 33 per cent possession in the first half, but they had four shots on target to the South American’s nil.

Colombia’s best chance of the half fell to an unmarked Leicy Santos, who sent her jumping header high over the target in the 44th minute.

Colombia came out firing in the second half in a bid to find an equaliser.

Morocco goalkeeper Er-Rmichi pulled off a stunning save with her outstretched right boot to deny Colombia captain Daniela Montoya in the 59th minute, and Mayra Ramirez almost squeezed one through a short time later.

Er-Rmichi pulled off another sharp save on 73 minutes to deny a close-range strike from Linda Caicedo.

There were some more nervy moments as the match reached its end.

But it wasn’t nearly as nervy as the wait after the final whistle, with Moroccan players praying that world No.2 Germany didn’t score a late goal against South Korea.

Their prayers were answered, with players jumping for joy and sending water bottles flying during their wild celebrations.


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