FIFA World Cup 2018: Spain vs. Morocco [LIVE COMMENTARY]

This is the 35th match in the FIFA World Cup 2018 holding in Moscow, Russia.

Date & Time of Match:
Monday, 25
Spain and Morocco in the Group B at 7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET

___SCORE: Spain 2-2 Morocco____

LIVE COMMENTARY:


Late, late drama at the Kaliningrad Stadium as Spain rescue a dramatic late equaliser following an overturned offside decision via VAR. Morocco had restored their lead after En-Nesyri powered a wonderful header into the top-right corner following Fajr’s delivery. Spain dominated possession throughout but it took until the 90th minute before they could find their breakthrough, with Aspas flicking Carvajal’s pass beyond the reach of Mohamedi and into the far corner. Iran’s late equaliser against Portugal means Spain go through as group winners and will face hosts Russia in the last-16 on Sunday.



90′ + 8′ FULL-TIME: SPAIN 2-2 MOROCCO.



90′ + 7′ They look to find the run of Rodrigo down the left channel but it is straight out for a goal kick.
90′ + 5′ It is all getting a little heated on the pitch now as we enter the sixth minute of added time. Spain have a free kick.

89′ Mohamedi is booked for time wasting as he takes as much time as he can with a goal kick.
87′ Spain will still qualify as runners-up despite facing defeat, with Portugal continuing to lead against Iran. This will still be a disappointing result for the Spanish though. The Morocco fans are in dreamland though, the Atlas Lions have been outstanding today.
86′ Spain have now conceded 12 goals in their last six World Cup matches, as many as their previous 18 combined.
85′ Final change for Morocco as well as Ziyech is replaced by forwward Bouhaddouz.

69′ More impressive build up play from Spain. Costa lays the ball off into the path of Thiago, but the midfielder’s side-footed shot curls high over the bar.
67′ Iniesta and Isco have linked up wonderfully this evening and they do so again, with a quick interchange of passes causing trouble inside the box. Isco tries to put Iniesta through on goal but a defender does enough to see off the danger. Spain are turning up the heat.
65′ Spain continue to probe but this time Alba is robbed of possession. Morocco tries to force an attack of their own but it comes to nothing. All Spain again now after that small spell of control from Morocco.
63′ Belhanda becomes the first change of the game as Fajr comes on to replace him.
63′ CHANCE! Spain get another corner and this time it finds the head of Pique at the back post, who can only head narrowly wide.
62′ CHANCE! Spain finally break through the Morocco back line. Another excellent cross finds Isco at the back post but the midfielder’s header is cleared off the line by Saiss. Excellent defending.
61′ Cristiano Ronaldo had a chance to double Portugal’s advantage but his effort from the penalty spot was saved by Alireza Beiranvand. It remains 1-0 to Portugal in that game, who will go through as group winners as things stand.
60′ Spain have not had a shot on target since Gerard Pique’s 23rd minute effort.
58′ Despite all their possession, Spain have not really threatened Morocco in this half. The Atlas Lions are looking the better side in attack at the moment and are certainly going out of this tournament with a bang.
56′ CHANCE! A swerving effort from the edge of the box by Amrabat strikes the underside of the crossbar and bounces out; much to the relief of De Gea, who was well beaten.
55′ A cross from the set piece is easily claimed by Mohamedi. He releases the ball quickly and Morocco can break, but Spain get back in numbers quickly to quell the danger.
52′ Hakimi tries to break forward from the left but he shows too much of it to Busquets. Spain try to exploit the space at the back but Another loose pass puts their attack to a tame end. Spain continue to dominate possession though.

50′ CLOSE! A lovely chipped pass from the left wing puts Boutaib through on goal, but De Gea reacts quickly to clear the danger. Morocco have got in behind this Spanish defence on a number of occassions now with the long ball.
48′ Spain are almost playing at walking pace at the moment. They are happy to just keep hold of the ball and invite Morocco onto them. Isco does try to speed things up a bit though but his heavy pass rolls straight back to an opposition player.
46′ Morocco lose possession in their own half and Isco tries to find Iniesta with the through ball. The pass is a little too heavy though and it rolls out for a goal kick.
46′ Morocco get the second half underway!




Andreas Iniesta is Spain’s oldest ever player to deliver an assist at a World Cup (34y 45d).
It is all square at the break of a competitive encounter, after Isco cancelled out Boutaib’s opener after the Moroccan forward pounced on a communication mistake between Iniesta and Ramos. Spain dominated possession throughout but found Morocco’s defence in a resolute mood, while Boutaib could have restored their lead were it not for a heavy touch on a rare breakaway chance. As it stands Spain will go through as runners-up, with Portugal leading at the break against Iran.
45′ + 3′ HALF-TIME: SPAIN 1-1 MOROCCO.
45′ + 2′ CHANCE! Beautiful footwork from Iniesta allows the veteran midfield to wriggle away from his marker and into the box. He fires a low pass across the face of goal but Costa is unable to get on the end of it.
45′ + 1′ Ricardo Quaresma has given Portugal the lead against Iran. As things stand, Spain will progress even if they lose here.
45′ The fourth official has indicated two minutes of additional time.
43′ Half chance for Morocco. Hakimi takes a touch on the edge of the box before firing a driven effort towards goal, which drifts just over the crossbar.
42′ Morocco finally get a bit of breathing space and they can push out and put some pressure on Pique and Ramos. It pays off as well as Spain are forced to go long.
40′ It’s an excellent delivery towards the back post by Isco but Hakimi reads it well, getting ahead of Busquets to head clear.
39′ Spain are totally dominating play now. They are moving the ball around the final third looking for an opening but the Moroccan defence are standing firm, before Isco is dragged down on the right wing. Set piece chance for Spain.
37′ CHANCE! It is another wonderfully whipped delivery from a corner for Spain, this time towards the front post. Busquets meets it in the box, completely unmarked, but he can only head high over the bar. He should have done much better.
35′ Since 1966, only Morocco in 1994 (five) have received more yellow cards in a first half of a WC game than they have so far today (four).
33′ It remains goalless between Iran and Portugal so far, meaning that the Portuguese will advance alongside Spain as it stands. Still early doors though.
31′ Boussoufa also receives a yellow card for dissent after disputing the booking of his teammate.
31′ Another Moroccan booking as da Costa receives a yellow card for a needless lunge on Isco. Things are getting a little heated from a Morocco perspective. They are still well within this game though.
29′ Amrabat catches the heel of Ramos as he races onto a lofted through ball. The Madrid man goes to ground and Amrabat goes into the referee’s book for the foul.
27′ Spain have turned it up a notch here and are starting to find gaps in the Moroccan defence. A clever flick from Costa frees Isco on the left, but the midfielder’s cross is cleared away at the back post by Saiss.
25′ CHANCE! Boutaib races clear of the Spanish defence once again but a heavy touch inside the box takes him too close to De Gea, who smothers the shot. He is certainly proving to be a handful to this Spanish defence though, Boutaib.
24′ Isco has been directly involved in 12 goals in his last 15 internationals for Spain (10 goals, two assists).
23′ It is all Spain now as they win a corner on the left. The delivery finds Pique at the back post but the defender can not generate any power on his headed effort. Easy save for Mohamedi.
21′ El Ahmadi is booked for a late challenge on Busquets.
19′ Iniesta finds Isco after a slick passing move for the Real Madrid midfielder to fire Spain level.
19′ GOAL! Spain make it 1-1!!! Some wonderful quick football in and around the Morocco box frees Iniesta on the left. He reaches the byline before pulling the ball back towards the six-yard box, where Isco is on hand to smash the ball into the roof of the net.
18′ Spain have it all to do now. A reminder that they could still be eliminated at the group stage if the result of the other game goes against them. They have a promising attack but Iniesta opts to shoot instead of trying to find Costa with a through ball. It flies harmlessly over the bar.
16′ David de Gea has now conceded each of the four shots on target he has faced at the 2018 World Cup.

14′ Goal Khalid Boutaïb
12′ Unsurprisingly, Spain have seen over 75% of the possession so far in this first half. Similarly to the Iran game though, they are struggling to find a way through a packed defense.
10′ There’s no real penetration from Spain so far. They are trying to get Isco on the ball down the left but the attack is easily dealt with once more by Morocco.
8′ Boutaib is down receiving treatment after a two-footed challenge by Pique. It doesn’t look like he will be booked though.
6′ Spain win a corner on the right. It is a decent delivery by Silva but a Moroccan defender rises high to head clear. They’ve looked pretty solid in these early stages so far.
4′ Spain finally find some space through the back line. Isco tries to find a teammate from the left of the box but his shot-pass is an easy claim for Mohamedi.

2′ Morocco win the ball from Spain high up the pitch but Ziyech’s cross is overhit and straight out for a goal kick. The Atlas Lions are pressing the Spanish high early on though.
1′ Spain get the game underway!
The two sides are making their way out onto the pitch, with just a few minutes to go until kick-off.



Morocco XI (4-2-3-1): Munir Mohamedi; Nabil Dirar, Manuel da Costa, Romain Saiss, Achraf Hakimi; Karim El Ahmadi, Moubarak Boussoufa; Nordin Amrabat, Younes Belhanda, Hakim Ziyech; Khalid Boutaib.
Spain substitutes: Cesar Azpilicueta, Saul Niguez, Alvaro Odriozola, Lucas Vazquez, Kepa Arrizabalaga, Nacho Monreal, Iago Aspas, Nacho, Koke, Rodrigo Moreno, Jose Reina, Marco Asensio.
Spain XI (4-2-3-1): David De Gea; Daniel Carvajal, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba; Sergio Busquets, Thiago Alcantara; David Silva, Andres Iniesta, Isco; Diego Costa.
There’s just over 15 minutes left to go until kick-off, so let’s have a look at how the two teams will be lining up this evening…
Morocco have fired in more shots than their opposition in each of their last six World Cup defeats (v Portugal and Iran in 2018; Brazil in 1998; Netherlands, Saudi Arabia and Belgium in 1994).
The Atlas Lions have given everything in both of their fixtures so far and they will certainly not go down without a fight tonight. Morocco have proven in their games against Iran and Portugal that they can create chances in the final third; and against Spain they will have room on the counter attack to open their World Cup account if they can find the end product that has eluded them so far in this tournament.
Morocco will be considering themselves unlucky to already be eliminated so early on in the competition. They were impressive against Portugal but could not find the back of the net, while they were only beaten by Iran by a very late goal. Despite creating a number of opportunities in both games, Morocco have yet to fashion those chances into a goal.
Spain have won three of their four World Cup matches against African opponents (L1), scoring 11 goals and never fewer than two per game.
Uruguay and Russia are waiting in the next round, with La Roja needing only a point from today’s tie to ensure their progress. However, defeat could see them still be eliminated if Iran and Portugal share a high scoring draw or if Iran beat the Portuguese by a smaller margin than their own result.
It took a very fortunate deflection off Diego Costa to see Spain past a well organised Iran side and they will need an improved performance if they are to ensure their progress into the knockout stages.
Good evening and welcome to our live coverage of today’s World Cup Group B game between Spain and Morocco at the Kaliningrad Stadium.
GOAL

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