World Cup 2023 - Morocco miracle in Perth sees Germany sent packing - Match Day 15
Morocco have become the final team to qualify for the Round of 16 while Germany were sensationally sent home on Match Day 15.
It took a first half stoppage-time penalty for African minnows Morocco to beat the much fancied Colombians in front of 17,000 vocal fans in Perth. The teams were greeted with a raucous atmosphere, as the majority Colombian crowd brought the South American party to Perth Rectangular Stadium. Not phased by the crowd, it was a bright start from the 72nd-ranked Africans, as they troubled the Colombian defence early. Morocco manufactured numerous chances down the left side as midfielder Ghizlane Chebback linked up well with winger Fatima Tagnaout. Colombia worked themselves into the match and weren't without their own chances as Linda Caicedo's cross found the head of Leicy Santos who was unable to hit the target.
A stroke of luck for Morocco just before half time as a clumsy shove by Colombia's Daniela Arias brought down Moroccan striker Ibtissam Jraïdi, with the referee awarding a penalty. Ghizlane Chebbak stepped up for Morocco only for the Colombian keeper to make a smart save down to her left before the loose ball was tucked away by Anissa Lahmari to give the African side a 1-nil advantage at the break. Chances at both ends followed in the second half but neither team were able to capitalise on their opportunities as Morocco managed to hold on for a famous victory. Though celebrations were on hold for the Moroccans as the attention turned to the simultaneous fixture between South Korea and Germany. A 6th minute strike by Korea's Cho So-Huyn stunned the Germans early as she slipped through the napping German defence to slide the ball past keeper, Merle Frohms.
German stalwart Alexandra Popp restored parity just before half time as she rose over the top of the Korean defence to head home past Kim Jung-mi. With Germany needing a win to progress due to the Moroccan scoreline, they chased the game late on. It was Alexandra Popp once again who troubled the Koreans in the 56th minute when she headed a neat flick by Jule Brand only for the goal to be disallowed due an offside. She'd go close once again just minutes later with another header which hit the crossbar, ultimately it wasn't to be for Germany as the match finished 1-all.
Confirmation of the news made it's way to Perth which cued wild on-field celebrations. For Morocco it would be a ride into the knockout phase in their World Cup debut, while for Germany it was the first time in their history they failed to progress past the group stage. Next, we look forward to the Round of 16 due to begin on Saturday 5th August.