DOHA (AP) — Morocco produced another surprise at the World Cup. This time, the loser is the aging Belgian “Golden Generation”.
With Sunday’s 2-0 victory over Belgium, Kevin De Bruyne and the 2018 semi-finalists are in what could be the last World Cup for many talented teams who failed to win a great title. in danger of being defeated.RELATED
It may be too late now.
De Bruyne did not develop into a game against Morocco, with captain Eden Hazard being substituted after an hour and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois being accused of scoring the first goal.
“We haven’t seen the best of Belgium yet,” said the Spanish coach, who has led the national team for the past six years. “We’re not showing our best version.”
Belgium could have become the second team to advance to the round of 16 after reigning champions France beat Morocco. To avoid the most premature parting since 1998, they will have to play a classification on the final day of Group F when they face Croatia, who finished runners-up four years ago, on Thursday.
After Croatia defeated Canada 4-1, Belgium dropped from first to third with a draw.
Abdelhamid Saviri, who came on in the second half, opened the scoring with a free-kick in the 73rd minute that slipped past Courtois.
Zakaria Abhlal rounded out the result for North Africa with a cross from Hakim Ziyech in the top corner in injury time.
The Moroccan players knelt and bowed in unison, prayed and jumped in unison to celebrate. Instead, Courtois couldn’t believe what he saw.
Belgium, who are number two in the FIFA rankings, have won their last seven World Cup group stage matches. It was Morocco’s first victory in the tournament since 1998 and only the third in its history.
This is the second big surprise that the Arab nation will be the star of the first World Cup to be held in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia beat Argentina 2-1 in her debut match.
Morocco opened in Qatar with a promising 0-0 draw against Croatia, spurred on by the constant support of the fans at Al Toumama Stadium.
“We are fascinated by Croatia and Belgium. They are extraordinary results,” said Moroccan coach Walid Legragi.
Martinez made a desperate attempt to level the scores by beating the team’s all-time goalscorer Romelu Lukaku with less than ten minutes remaining. The striker has not played since October and has just recovered from a left thigh injury.
Goals from Lukaku, De Bruyne and Eden Hazard saw Belgium reach the semi-finals in Russia, but lost to France. The Belgian once again stood out at last year’s Euros when he knocked out Portugal before losing to eventual champions Italy in the quarter-finals.
The Red Devils defeated Canada 1-0 in their opening game in Qatar when Lukaku’s absence was revealed. Belgium once again missed out on the powerful striker who scored four goals at the World Cup in Russia and the same number at Euro 2020.
Morocco boosted their confidence with a scoreless draw against Croatia on Matchday 1, increasing their chances of reaching the first round for the first time since 1986.