May 20, 2024

Morocco outclass Belgium for first World Cup win since 1998

Morocco outclass Belgium for first World Cup win since 1998
Morocco's Abdelhamid Sabiri in action with Belgium's Charles De Ketelaere

It was Morocco's first win at a World Cup since they beat Scotland in 1998. They left the 2018 tournament with a single point.

Substitutes Abdelhamid Sabiri and Zakaria Aboukhlal earned Morocco their first World Cup victory in 24 years as they upset a hugely disappointing Belgium side 2-0 in World Cup Group F on Sunday.

The Morocco fans gave the match a vintage World Cup feel in a boiling atmosphere at the Al Thumama Stadium and Sabiri curled a wide free kick past Thibaut Courtois before Aboukhlal netted in stoppage time to put Morocco top of Group F with four points, one ahead of Belgium.

It was Morocco's first win at a World Cup since they beat Scotland in 1998. They left the 2018 tournament with a single point.


"We scored at the right moment. We deserved to win. After 70 minutes some of our players were tired, but the way the crowd got behind us, they really helped us. They gave us a big boost," said man of the match Hakim Ziyech.

Belgium, who had scraped a 1-0 win over Canada in their opening game, again looked a pale shadow of the team who finished third in 2018 and climbed to second in the world rankings. They must now battle for a last-16 spot against Croatia.

"It’s a difficult result. We couldn’t get our game going. It’s a game we need to understand; we need to be together and react. That’s what happens at the World Cup," said Belgium coach Roberto Martinez.

The Red Devils' poor display even forced Martinez to send Romelu Lukaku on for the last 10 minutes in a desperate attempt to salvage a point, even though the burly striker had been struggling with a hamstring problem.

Croatia, who have a point from their draw with Morocco, play Canada in the other Group F game later on Sunday.