World Cup Group B: Spain 2-2 Morocco
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Spain will finish top in Group B despite a shock draw to Morocco tonight in the Kaliningrad Stadium in Russia, during their final World Cup group stage match. After sparkling in their cracking opener against Portugal, many fans were tipping Spain to be the ones to beat this world cup. But after scraping past Iran, La Roja were frustrated once again by a Morocco outfit who showed pluck and bottle to snatch a sensational winagainst the 2010 World Cup and 2012 European Championship winners. Spain named the exact same line-up which managed to defeat Iran on Wednesday evening, despite suggestions that manager Julian Lopetegui would rotate the squad, with qualification assured following that victory. Morocco meanwhile would be heading home after the match, burdened with the frustrating accolade of playing excellent passing football but lacking the key cutting edge which seperates sides at major tournaments. Spain unsurprisingly dominated the ball in the opening exchanges with the mercurial Andres Iniesta at the absolute centre of everything. Isco attempted to play through Iniesta on the fifth minute mark, but his pass was cut out by the impressive Romain Saïss. Nordin Amrabat and Sergio Ramos briefly squared up as temperatures flared, whilst Gerard Pique was very fortunate to not see a red card for a scything two footed tackle on Khalid Boutaïb, with the referee surprisingly not consulting VAR or even giving a yellow card. But although Spain saw almost all of the early possession, it was Morocco who took the lead. Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos was dispossesed by Khalid Boutaïb just inside the Spanish half and the Morocco showed speed and composure to race away from the Spanish backline and slot the ball past David De Gea, as the stadium erupted into noise. Not surprising considering it was the first world cup for 20 years for the Lions of the Atlas. Spain briefly lost their head committing several niggly fouls with Busquets and Ramos particularly cupable, but parity was restored five minutes later as a superb interchange involving Iniesta, Diego Costa and Isco saw the latter teed up to finish from close range. Morocco continued to be combatative after the equaliser, with Karim El Ahmadi seeing yellow.
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