Magnificent Morocco claim maiden Women’s World Cup knockout berth

Magnificent Morocco claim maiden Women's World Cup knockout berth
Morocco are the only 2023 Fifa Women's World Cup debutants to win two matches at the tournament

Tournament debutantes Morocco have defeated Colombia 1-0 and advanced to the knockout phase in a remarkable night of Group H fixtures that has seen group favourites Germany knocked out.

The Atlas Lionesses began the brighter of the two sides, enjoying more possession and looking the side more likely to score. However, clear-cut chances were few and far between in the first half.

That was until Ibtissam Jraidi was bundled over in the penalty area moments before the break. Ghizlane Chebbak saw the subsequent penalty saved, but Anissa Lahmari was in the right place to poke home the rebound to give her nation a priceless lead and leapfrog Germany into second.

Colombia had several fantastic opportunities to equalise in the second half, but Morocco goalkeeper Khadija Er-Rmichi was equal to everything thrown at her as the game ticked past the 100-minute mark.

The South Americans couldn’t find a leveller, meaning that Morocco – thanks in hand to Germany’s 1-1 draw with Korea Republic – advanced in second place behind Las Cafeteras.

Of the eight debutants at the 2023 Women’s World Cup, seven had already exited the tournament before this match. Only Philippines, by beating co-hosts New Zealand, and Portugal in giving the USA a mighty scare, had come close to reaching the knockout stage.

Morocco – who lost 6-0 to the Germans in their opener before successive wins – will face France in Adelaide next.

Colombia, who earned two wins in their first two matches and finish above Morocco on goal difference, will play Jamaica in Melbourne earlier on 8 August.

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