Spain held Morocco to a 2-2 draw in their first stage FIFA World Cup Group B match at the Kaliningrad Stadium in Kaliningrad on Monday. Morocco took the lead twice. Spain fought back to level through Isco and then Aspas. La Roja head through as Group B winners to knockout stages.
Portugal finished second after simultaneous video reviews in the dying moments gave Spain a 2-2 draw with Morocco and Portugal a 1-1 draw with Iran. Spain’s reward for that victory is a date with the hosts at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium. Portugal, meanwhile, will take on Uruguay.
Khalid Boutaib scored Morocco’s first goal of the World Cup in the 14th minute after a mix-up between Andres Iniesta and Sergio Ramos. The Morocco striker then ran half the length of the pitch before calmly sliding the ball under the advancing David De Gea.
Andres Iniesta’s mix-up with Sergio Ramos gifted Morocco its first goal of the World Cup but the veteran midfielder quickly made amends by setting up Isco at the other end to bring Spain level at halftime in their last group match.
Morocco took the lead again against Spain, with substitute Youssef En Nesyri rising above Sergio Ramos to powerfully head home a corner in the 81st minute.
The goal gave Morocco a 2-1 lead with just nine minutes of regulation time left in the Group B match at Kaliningrad.
Aspas scored with a clever flick at the death, then has his celebrations cut short by the assistant referee’s flag and then sees his goal reinstated after a VAR review. 2-2
Spain are now unbeaten in 23 matches (W15-D8-L0), the longest active unbeaten run in international football.
Morocco have earlier been knocked out of the tournament. Morocco only had honour left to play for tonight but they have produced a superb performance. Their World Cup adventure will end after tonight, but this would be a famous result for the Atlas Lions.
A total of 32 national football teams are participating in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, held in 11 cities across Russia between June 14 and July 15.
The teams were divided into eight groups, with four in each, and the top two from their relevant groups will proceed to the next round, known as the playoffs or the knockout stage, to keep vying for the much-coveted FIFA World Cup Trophy.
Russia is holding its first time ever edition of the FIFA World Cup, which kicked off in Moscow with a spectacular opening show at the Luzhniki Stadium on the night of June 14. The World Cup is being held at 12 arenas across 11 cities with the final set to be played at Luzhniki on July 15. The 11 host cities are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.