FIFA World Cup: Spain, Switzerland Say Goodbye to Qatar

Posted on: December 7, 2022, 09:22h. 

Last updated on: December 7, 2022, 10:25h.

Tuesday saw Spain try again for World Cup glory as it met Morocco in the Round of 16. As it’s done in the past, the Spanish squad didn’t take the field with the level of aggression it needed, ultimately costing it another shot at the championship.

Morocco national team
Morocco’s national team celebrates after beating Spain in the World Cup Round of 16. It now faces Portugal in the quarterfinals this Saturday. (Image: Getty Images)

Spain was eliminated from the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after Morocco scored a victory that found plenty of the country’s residents dancing in the streets in celebration. Spain’s hopes for advancement died on penalties, like they did four years earlier in Russia, the victim of its lack of inspiration in the final stretch.

Spain arrived at the shootout so exhausted that they didn’t score a single goal. It was a sad epilogue to their journey in Qatar, but a wake-up call that showed what Morocco, constantly an underdog in the competition, is capable of.

Spain Says Adios to Qatar

Spain commanded the game, but crashed against a Moroccan wall. The Spaniards lacked stamina and energy as the game wore on, which became noticeable as the clock continued to run.

Morocco’s impeccable defense, meanwhile, allowed the African country to make history. For the first time, it is going to the quarterfinals of a World Cup competition.

Extra time was an exercise in pure agony for the Spanish squad. Morocco defended itself tooth and nail, and constantly put up a strong counterattack. Unai Simón and the defense tried to keep up for Spain, but it became increasingly difficult.

The minutes weighed like lead on the field for Spain as their every effort found immediate resistance. The final seconds of regulation ticked off the clock, and Spain and Morocco would have to settle their fight with penalty kicks.

Spain apparently forgot one of the most fundamental rules of soccer before it stepped on the field: It is impossible to win a game without taking shots.

Spain had just two shots on goal in what turned into a 129-minute contest. They followed that with three missed penalties, almost as though they were saying they wanted to go home.

The next games come this weekend after a couple of days off. In Saturday’s quarterfinal, Morocco will face Portugal, which is improving as the World Cup continues.

Portugal Gains an Edge

Portugal proved that it doesn’t need Cristiano Ronaldo to win games when it beat Switzerland 6-1 on Tuesday. Goncalo Ramos was the star, putting up a hat trick as Portugal rolled to an easy victory.

Ronaldo started the game on the bench and only entered 28 minutes into the second half. By then, Portugal was already in complete control with a 5-1 lead.

Portugal’s efficiency was too much for a weak Swiss side that never developed a decent offensive strategy. Now, Spain’s neighbor is on a quest for its first World Cup win after a few near-misses over the years.

Also coming up in the quarterfinals: Croatia and Brazil, and Argentina and the Netherlands will face off on Friday. Then, England and France will play the second game on Saturday.