Morocco, making their World Cup debut, pulled off a stunning upset by qualifying for the last 16 at the expense of Germany after a 1-0 victory against Colombia in Perth. Anissa Lahmari, the goal-scorer, described it as an “explosion of joy” for the team. Despite being one of the lowest-ranked teams at 72 in the world, Morocco’s remarkable journey continues as they now face France in the knockouts on Tuesday.
Lahmari’s goal just before half-time proved to be the decisive moment in the match, separating the teams. Morocco then anxiously waited as Germany and South Korea played with a draw keeping their hopes alive. The former champions needed a late goal to advance, but it never materialized, leading to jubilant celebrations from the Moroccan players and staff.
Their remarkable turnaround in the tournament is like a fairytale. After a disastrous 6-0 defeat in Morocco ‘s debut against Germany, they bounced back with wins against South Korea and now Colombia. The women’s team aspires to replicate the success of their men’s team. Who had reached the World Cup semi-finals in Qatar last year.
Coach Reynald Pedros expressed pride in their journey as debutants and credited hard work and motivation for their success. Their next challenge against France is special for Pedros, who represented the country as a player. Despite facing a tough opponent, Morocco’s objective is to continue their impressive run.
Meanwhile, Colombia, despite the defeat, topped the group and will face Jamaica in the next round. They will miss defender Manuela Vanegas due to suspension. Coach Nelson Abadia believes both teams have a good opportunity in the sudden-death match.
In the thrilling match against Colombia, Morocco’s sole goal came from a penalty rebound after a spectacular save by the Colombian goalkeeper. Sakina Ouzraoui found Lahmari, who made no mistake from close range. Despite Colombia’s efforts to equalize, Morocco’s solid defense and goalkeeping ensured their victory.
Real Madrid striker Linda Caicedo, who overcame ovarian cancer at 15, played for Colombia despite recent health concerns. Caicedo had limited impact in the match, and Morocco’s determination ultimately secured their place in the last 16. With their dream run continuing, Morocco aims to keep the momentum going and make further strides in the World Cup.