COLOMBO: Morocco became the first African side to win a World Cup group since Nigeria in 1998.
The ardent Moroccan team seized a spot in the last 16 of the World Cup for the first time since 1986 by defeating the already-eliminated Canadians 2-1.
“Morocco, who needed a win or a draw in their final Group F match to reach the knockout rounds, took advantage of a weak clearance by goalkeeper Milan Borjan that landed on the foot of Hakim Ziyech. Cheered on by a boisterous crowd of Moroccan fans, midfielder Ziyech effortlessly lobbed the ball over the stranded goalkeeper to open scoring in the fourth minute. Borjan had been placed in an unenviable position by central defender Steven Vitoria, whose weak back pass forced the goalkeeper to race Moroccan forward Youssef En-Nesyri to the ball.” – Reuters
Sparking a spell of Canada pressure with Morocco barely holding on, the Canadians came close in the 71st minute when substitute Hutchinson’s header off a corner hit the crossbar and bounced untouched to the ground but did not get all the way over the goal-line. Morocco victoriously edged passed Canada to Group F.
Canada, who are exiting their first World Cup since 1986 without a win, was unable to capture their desired result in Qatar. They exit the World Cup losing to Morocco and automatically qualify for the 2026 tournament as co-hosts along with the United States and Mexico.
Canada: Borjan, Johnston, Steven Vitoria, Miller, Adekugbe, Osorio, Kaye, Davies, Buchanan, Larin, Hoilett.
Morocco: Bounou, Hakimi, Aguerd, Saiss, Mazraoui, Ounahi, Amrabat, Sabiri, Ziyech, En-Nesyri, Boufal.