The Atlas Lions make history as Morocco reaches the round of 16 on their debut Women’s World Cup, the country’s second major historic football achievement in the space of a year
Morocco 1-0 Colombia
Morocco‘s women’s national football team has made history by reaching the last 16 in their debut appearance at the 2023 Women’s World Cup. The North African team secured their place in the knockout rounds with a hard-fought 1-0 victory against Colombia at Adelaide Stadium.
Despite the loss, Colombia progressed as Group H winners, having secured two wins in their previous matches, finishing above Morocco on goal difference. The Moroccans, who suffered a heavy 6-0 defeat to Germany in their opening game, bounced back with successive wins against South Korea and now Colombia to secure a spot in the round of 16.
The decisive goal came in the 34th minute when Morocco was awarded a penalty after Ibtissam Jraidi was clumsily fouled in the box by Colombia‘s Daniela Arias. Captain Ghizlane Chebbak stepped up to take the spot-kick, but her effort was saved brilliantly by Colombia’s goalkeeper Catalina Perez. However, Anissa Lahmari was in the right place at the right time to pounce on the rebound and convert it into a goal, sending the Moroccan fans into raptures.
The Moroccan side displayed tenacity and determination throughout the match, creating several scoring opportunities early on. Ibtissam Jraidi’s third-minute shot was saved by Perez at the near post, and Chebbak almost surprised the Colombian keeper with a cleverly worked corner.
As the game progressed, Morocco continued to look threatening, and their solid defensive display frustrated the Colombian attackers. Despite late pressure from Colombia, the Moroccans held on to their slender lead, securing their place in the next stage of the tournament.
Atlas Lions to face Les Bleus in the round of 16
Meanwhile, Germany’s failure to secure a win against South Korea proved to be a pivotal moment for Morocco’s qualification. The draw meant Morocco qualified as runners-up in the group, setting up a mouthwatering clash against powerhouse France in the round of 16.
This historic achievement marks the second significant football milestone for Morocco in just a year. At the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the men’s national team became the first African side to reach the semi-finals. Now, the women’s team is writing their own chapter in football history with an unexpected run at the Women’s World Cup.
As one of the eight debutants at the tournament, Morocco stands out as the only team among them to reach the knockout stages, proving that they belong on the global stage of women’s football. With their impressive performances against South Korea and Colombia, Reynaud Pedros’ side has showcased their resilience and potential, and they will undoubtedly aim to continue their magical journey in the knockout rounds.