2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup Updates: Debutants Morocco Makes Round of 16…

Nouhaila Benzina and Sofia Bouftini of Morocco celebrate advancing to the knockout stage [Paul Kane/Getty Images]

03 August 2023

Debutants Morocco has joined Nigeria and South Africa as three African teams progressed into the Round of 16 for the first time at the ongoing 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup taking place in Australia and New Zealand. The Atlas Lionesses made history beating Group H leaders Colombia 1 – 0 in their final group match, while former world champions and tournament favourites, Germany were held to 1 – 1 draw against bottom team South Korea.

Morocco players celebrate advancing to the knockout stage [Paul Kane/Getty Images]
The North African Queens started the tournament poorly with a heavy 6 – 0 loss to the number two ranked team in the world, Germany. They however picked up the pieces in their second match with a slim 1 – 0 victory over South Korea, who had suffered a 0 – 2 loss to Colombia. Meanwhile, Morocco got a life line going when Colombia stunned Germany 2 – 1 in their second game, leaving both the European and African teams on three points after two games. However, Germany was placed second with a superior goals difference.

Going into the third and final rounds of matches, Colombia sat comfortably at the top of the group with six from two wins in their first two games. It would take a heavy defeat against Morocco for the South Americans to be eliminated from the tournament, that is with the expectation that the Germans would steamroll the South Koreans. In that scenario, the three teams would end up with six points, while qualification would be decided by goal difference.

Morocco’s Anissa Lahmari celebrates after scoring her side’s first goal [Gary Day/AP Photo]
However, while the North Africans did beat the South Americans by a solitary goal, to move up to six points with Colombia; the Germans failed to beat South Korea, exiting the tournament with three points from three games. Morocco scored in the 4th minute of additional time in the first half through Anissa Lahmari, who pounced on a rebound after skipper, Ghizlane Chebbak had missed a spot kick awarded following a foul on Ibtissam Jraïdi.

Morocco will take on France in the next round on Tuesday, August 8, 2023 at 12:00 noon (CET). The other African representatives, South Africa will meet Netherlands on Sunday, August 6 at 03:00, while Nigeria will square up against England on Monday August 7 at 08:30.

*Cover image from Twitter

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