Morocco upsets Belgium as Atlas Lions pull off another huge shock
Morocco stunned Belgium as there was yet another shock result at the World Cup, as the No. 2 ranked team in the world were second best throughout.
The Atlas Lions mauled the Red Devils.
Substitute Abdelhamid Sabiri whipped in a free kick from an impossible angle with 15 minutes to go in the second half to make it 1-0 as Morocco came close on several occasions and were the better team.
They then sealed the win in stoppage time as the brilliant Hakim Ziyech set up another substitute, Zakaria Aboukhal, to fire home and send the huge number of Morocco fans in the stadium wild.
Belgium, who finished third at the last World Cup, now have three points after their first two Group F games and now face a showdown with Croatia.
After just their third win at a World Cup finals, Morocco have four points ahead of their Group F finale against Canada and look set to get out of the group stage for just the second time in their history of the World Cup.
Belgium can have no complaints as defense run ragged again
This was exactly the same performance as their win against Canada. Belgium were slow in possession, sloppy on the ball and they were slow defensively and couldn’t cope when Morocco got the ball wide early and cut inside to run at them. Roberto Martinez has an ageing squad and the worst thing is, they know it. Kevin de Bruyne’s comments before this tournament proved there is no real belief in this Belgian side that they can make a deep run in this tournament and the No. 2 ranked team in the world look totally out of energy and confidence. Morocco worked so hard and shut down Belgium’s main threats and this star-studded Belgian team can have no complaints with the defeat which puts them in danger of crashing out of the group stage.
For Morocco, this was a historic win and manager Walid Regragui only too over in recent months and in his six games as Morocco boss they have yet to concede a goal and the entire team is united. Goalkeeper Yassine Bounou lined up to take part in the game but pulled out due to illness, so Munir came in late in the day to start and stood tall as this Morocco side is fully behind their manager and have a clear playing style and identity. That is remarkable and their fans have delivered a whole new dimension to this tournament.
Stars of the show
Sofiane Boufal: Superb display as he gave Meunier a torrid time. Cut inside brilliantly in the second half and curled an effort just wide.
Hakim Ziyech: So dangerous on the ball and whipped in some great deliveries and kept the ball to help Morocco get further up the pitch.
Sofyan Amrabat: Absolutely sensational in midfield. The Fiorentina star shut down Kevin de Bruyne and Co. and won the ball back and shut down everything centrally.
How to watch Belgium vs Morocco live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 8am ET - Sunday, November 27Stadium: Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor TV channels en Español: TelemundoStreaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)
🔥 Abdelhamid Sabiri gives Morocco the lead as he catches out Courtois at the near post.— Joe Prince-Wright (@JPW_NBCSports) November 27, 2022
Such a clever free kick and this is something Morocco clearly planned to do after the disallowed goal in the first half.
What a moment for Morocco!#BEL 0-1 #MAR pic.twitter.com/PAqqjQpxP5
Key storylines, players to watch closely
Kevin de Bruyne was almost apologetic after being named man of the match against Canada as he said he and his teammates really struggled in their World Cup opener. Belgium have to give their back three more protection as they are really susceptible to speedy wide players cutting in wide and teams playing direct and cutting out their midfield playmakers. Roberto Martinez starts Meunier and Onana in this game to try and give Belgium a little more control and solidity. Michy Batshuayi continues to fill in for the injured Romelu Lukaku once again.
Morocco will try and do exactly what Canada did to Belgium and they have the players to do it. Ziyech and Boufal will cause problems out wide and Morocco looked solid defensively against Croatia. There is a real whiff of an upset in the air around this one as Morocco will be roared on by their large group of supporters in Qatar.
Belgium quick facts
Current FIFA world ranking: 2
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 14
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Roberto Martinez
Key players: Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Thibaut Courtois, Eden Hazard
Morocco Rica quick facts
Current FIFA world ranking: 22
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 6
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CAF
Coach: Walid Regragui
Key players: Achraf Hakimi, Yassine Bounou, Youssef En-Nesyri, Romain Saiss