2022 World Cup: Why Spain were deserved losers against Morocco

Spain were deserved losers against Morocco at the 2022 World Cup
Spain were deserved losers against Morocco at the 2022 World Cup

(Football news) Spain failed to reach the quarter-finals of the third consecutive World Cup after losing to Morocco 3-0 in penalties at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. While Luis Enrique’s team showed plenty of promise, they failed to break a resolute Morocco defense, ultimately resulting in a penalty shootout. The North African side scored three while La Roja failed to convert any, with familiar issues resurfacing for the 2010 World Cup winners regarding failing to make their chances count despite having possession.

The ‘golden generation’ of Spain played a brand of tiki taka football between 2008 and 2012 where they dominated teams, not just in terms of possession but were absolutely ruthless in front of goal. This time around, La Roja have had 77% possession but fewer shots than Senegal and South Korea.

They scored nine goals in the tournament, which in itself sounds impressive but seven of them came against a woeful Costa Rica side, which is a disappointing statistic in perspective. This current Spain side has immense technical quality, especially with the likes of Gavi, Pedri and Busquets in midfield, so it’s shocking why they struggle to create chances.

Against Germany, Japan and Morocco, Spain registered a combined total of only 2.59 expected goals and across four games, no player created more than five chances. While Alvaro Morata is no Fernando Torres or David Villa, he finished the tournament with three goals, more than what was expected of him, while other players cannot say they did their job half as well. Their players showed a lack of composure against Morocco, with Jordi Alba, Rodri and Busquets being guilty of losing possession. Morocco, to their credit, did a fantastic job to unsettle Luis Enrique’s side and executed their game plan perfectly to neutralize Spain’s attacks.

In the end, questions will be raised about Spain’s devotion to the way they play because if their ‘philosophy’ is proving to be a hindrance rather than strength, a reevaluation or at least a plan B is a necessary strategy. It was only after the introduction of Nico Williams in the 75th minute that Spain finally began to threaten as his willingness to play direct and challenge the defenders brought an element of unpredictability to the side that they were sorely missing.

However, it was too late as the match ended up in penalties and despite Luis Enrique asking his team to practice “1000 penalties”, all belief was lost by the time the moment arrived, which is why Spain deserved to lose from this fixture.

Also read: WC 2022: Morocco cause a upset by beating Spain on penalties


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