The final day of the Round of 16 at the 2022 World Cup came to a close with Morocco taking on Spain and Portugal facing off against Switzerland. An astounding penalty shootout saw a European powerhouse fall, and an African nation triumph, while a six-goal blowout came in favor of Portugal over Switzerland.
World Cup Round of 16: Morocco and Portugal on to quarter-finals
World Cup Round of 16: Morocco (3) 0 – 0 (0) Spain
A much-anticipated Round of 16 match saw a Morocco side that went on a run to win Group F take on a strong Spain side that finished second in the Group of death. The match was one that saw a Spain side play the way they play so well. The Spanish were ball-dominant looking to move the ball around the pitch to find the right opening to hurt Morocco.
After the first few tries, it was clear Spain was in a fight with a Moroccan side that knew they could defend as a team. Though they had little chances going forward in this game, Morocco was one that dug deep to survive the Spain onslaught. This match would go to 30 minutes of extra time at 0-0. The extra time showed more of the same, and the match headed to a penalty shootout, a feat that favored the Moroccans.
Morocco shot first in the shootout and what occurred was nothing short of class. Morocco made three of their four penalty kicks, while Spain had all three saved by Yassine Bounou. On the decisive penalty that would see Morocco through to the quarter-finals, Achraf Hakimi hit a panenka to walk it off.
Morocco advanced in this World Cup after sending Spain home and awaited the winner of Portugal vs Switzerland.
World Cup Round of 16: Portugal – Switzerland
Portugal came into their Round of 16 match against Switzerland with a rarity in their starting XI. Their talisman Cristiano Ronaldo was not starting after an alleged feud with his manager. Seeing this an hour before the match had many fans and pundits thinking that this game could lean the way of Switzerland. But this was not the case.
While the match was evenly contested, and both sides wanted to progress the ball down the pitch, it was clear that Portugal was the better side with the ball on the day. Striker Goncalo Ramos opened the scoring in the 17th minute for Portugal. Portugal dominated the chances in the first half and added a second before halftime thanks to a Pepe header. In his first start for the Portuguese Ramos showed what he has to offer, the early goal was nice, but what he did in the second half ended the game in Portugal’s favor.
Switzerland had a diddicult time getting into the game, and Portugal kept their chances coming. Just 20 minutes after the second half started it was 5-1. Raphael Guerreiro added one goal, and Ramos bagged two more goals; he had an impressive 67th minute hattrick and Portugal were flying. Switzerland did get one goal back, thanks to Manuel Akanji, but it was too late. A stoppage time goal for Portugal’s Rafael Leao made it 6-1 blowout.
Portugla mov eon in the 2022 World Cup, while Switzrland crash out.
Morocco vs Portugal in quarter-finals
The underdog story of Morocco keeps rolling on at this World Cup as they take on a nation pulling all the right strings, Portugal. Morocco hasn’t lost in their last five matches, and has shown they can withstand great teams, can they do it again against a Portugal side that’s scored 12 goals in four games?
- Kickoff time: Saturday, Dec. 10, 10 am ET
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Mandatory Credit: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire