The Moroccan Miracle


The biggest shock of the Qatar World Cup was by far Morocco. A team that was expected to finish at the bottom of their group made it all the way to the semi-finals.

Morocco started their World Cup campaign by drawing with Croatia. This should’ve drawn more attention as Croatia were the 2018 runner ups. But people didn’t expect Croatia to go far again (they were wrong) so this draw was largely forgotten. However, heir next result was more remarkable: Morocco upset Belgium 2–0. Belgium were expected to top the group (they ended up flaming out to the bottom) so this was a huge upset. This win brought the worlds’ attention to the Moroccan hopefuls. They finished first in their group after beating Canada. This was the most shocking result of the group stages.

People expected Morocco’s amazing run to be ended by Spain in the Round of 16. They were wrong. Both sides couldn’t get the ball in the net so the game went to a shootout. This is where Morocco’s goalkeeper Yassine Bounou became a star. He hadn’t given up a goal yet (the one against Canada was an own goal). He continued that by not allowing a single penalty to go in to win Morocco the game. They would go on to the Quarterfinals to face Portugal. Portugal just came off a 6-1 demolition of Switzerland. This was Ronaldo’s last chance to win a World Cup (he was benched though). If Morocco were to win this they would become the first African team ever to get to the semi-finals. Not since Ghana (their 2010 run ended tragically to the Luis Suarez handball and penalty miss) had an African team had such a chance. Would Ronaldo advance, or would Morocco make history?

The latter happened. Yassine Bounou continued his goalkeeping dominance by once again not allowing a goal. Portugal had 12 shots taken and 76% possession and could only manage 3 shots on target. Morocco scored in 42’ by Youssef En-Nesyri. They would of course keep that lead. That win advanced the Moroccans to the semi-finals. They became the first African nation ever to make it that far in a World Cup.

But all things must come to an end as France beat Morocco 2-0 in the semis. After not giving up a goal, France scored in the first five minutes and then again in the 79’. Morocco could not score as even with their amazing run they’ve had some trouble with scoring goals. They would only score one goal in the knockout stages. They would then lose their chance at the bronze medal with their loss against Croatia. They were the first African team to get to the semis, topped a group while being expected to be at the bottom, and upset multiple teams that were expected to go far. While this run will probably not be replicated, it is still amazing and should not be forgotten.