World Cup 2022: Morocco beats Spain becoming first ever Arab team to reach quarter finals

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By Joshua Askew  & Kawtar Wakil
Morocco's supporters celebrate after their team won the Qatar 2022 World Cup round 16 football match between Morocco and Spain, at the FIFA fan zone in Doha, 6/12/2022.
Morocco's supporters celebrate after their team won the Qatar 2022 World Cup round 16 football match between Morocco and Spain, at the FIFA fan zone in Doha, 6/12/2022.   -   Copyright  Andrea Comas/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved

Morroco made history on Tuesday by knocking Spain out of the World Cup. 

The North African side won 3-0 on penalties after a goalless result on the pitch, becoming the first Arab team to reach the final eight stage of the FIFA World Cup. 

Morrocan player Achraf Hakimi, who was born and raised in Madrid, scored the decisive penalty which sent Spain out of the tournament. 

He ran straight to his mother afterwards, kissing and hugging her. 

"We are very happy [about] this performance," one Morrocan fan told Euronews correspondent Kawtar Wakil. "It is a moment of history [...] we have done something we have not done in 36 years."

Wakil, who is Moroccan, described the win "as a dream come true. They [the squad] made us proud today no matter [if] we win the World Cup or not." 

There were wild celebrations across Morocco on Tuesday night, with King Mohammed VI reportedly out on the streets of Rabat celebrating in public. 

Huge crowds could be seen in the Moroccan capital as people waved flags and let off flares. 

This was only the second time Morocco featured in the knockout stages of the World Cup. In 1986, the North African team reached round 16 of the World Cup in Mexico, losing to Germany 1-0. 

The odds were stacked in the Spanish squad's favour. Spain has never lost in the three last meetings with Morocco - until now. 

The game was the second World Cup meeting between Spain and Morroco. 

Spanish players could be seen sobbing and looking crestfallen at the end of the dramatic penalty shootout. Spain was eliminated on penalties at the 2018 World Cup by hosts Russia.

“We felt the support of our fans, be it in Morocco or any other country in the world,” said Morocco goalkeeper Yassine Bounou, who saved two of the three penalties he faced in the shootout. 

Pablo Sarabia, Carlos Soler and Sergio Busquets missed their penalties for Spain, with Sarabia hitting the post.

Portugal 6-1 Switzerland

Two European squads went up next at 20:00 CET, with Portgual thrashing Switerzland 6 - 1. 

Even without their star Cristiano Ronaldo, who entered the game only at the end of the match, Portugal stormed ahead with two goals in the first half, racking up another four in the second. 

Gonçalo Ramos scored the first goal in the 17th minute, followed by Pepe in the 33rd. 

Next-generation star Ramos continued to land them in the back of the net, tallying up a hat-trick by the end of the second half. 

Other goals came from Guerreiro (55th) and Rafael Leao (90+2). 

Before tonight Ramos was relatively unknown on the world stage of football. He had played only 33 minutes of the international tournament, but in 17 minutes he scored more World Cup knockout goals than Cristiano Ronaldo. 

The sides played at Lusail Stadium, which has a capacity of 89,000 people.

Portugal had been rattled after losing 2-1 to underdogs South Korea on Friday, but soon shook off their blues on the pitch. 

On Monday, Portugal coach Fernando Santos said his team must now "move up a gear" to face Switzerland.