Morocco stun Colombia to reach Women’s World Cup last 16 and dump out Germany, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Morocco stun Colombia to reach Women’s World Cup last 16 and dump out Germany

PERTH – Morocco coach Reynald Pedros was “extremely proud” after Anissa Lahmari’s winner powered his World Cup debutants past Colombia 1-0 on Thursday, and into the last 16 at the expense of two-time champions Germany.

Morocco’s upset in Perth lifted them to six points and they finished runners-up in Group H behind the Colombians on goal difference.

Germany were eliminated after being held to a 1-1 draw with South Korea in Brisbane.

Colombia will play Jamaica in the round of 16, while Morocco face France.

“Getting six points in this World Cup was exceptional,” said Pedros.

“We had to be patient, work hard and we had to be disciplined to get what we wanted. We are extremely proud to represent Morocco in the last 16.”

The Frenchman also paid tribute to the Moroccan fans.

“They’re going to support us one more time,” he added.

“We love them, we cherish them, we feel they’re behind us. It gives us strength. Well done to all the girls and we’re continuing on our merry way.”

It was a fairy-tale result for Morocco, who have rebounded from a humiliating 6-0 drubbing on their debut against Germany with wins over South Korea and Colombia.

In front of 17,342 fans, the sole goal arrived moments before half-time when Ibtissam Jraidi was impeded in the box by a clumsy Daniela Arias.

Captain Ghizlane Chebbak’s penalty kick was spectacularly saved by lunging goalkeeper Catalina Perez, but Sakina Ouzraoui pounced on the deflection and her nifty pass found Lahmari, who made no mistake from close range.

Colombia, wearing their yellow shirts, fielded a full-strength team despite having effectively qualified to the last 16 before this game.

Real Madrid striker Linda Caicedo, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at 15 but made a full recovery, took her place after X-rays cleared her of any health issues.

The 18-year-old, who scored goals in Colombia’s wins against South Korea and Germany, had suffered breathing difficulties against the Germans just days after collapsing in training with chest pain.

Morocco took heed of Pedros’ plea to play aggressively and the Africans dictated the early exchanges with Chebbak and Fatima Tagnaout particularly influential.

Caicedo, the rising star of the Colombian team, had limited impact and was finally involved just before half-time with several dashes down the right, but Colombia could not capitalise.

Morocco made them pay with their goal in first-half stoppage time putting the group on a knife’s edge at the interval.

Colombia came out aggressively after the break and almost equalised on the hour when Daniela Montoya’s bullet was brilliantly saved by Morocco goalkeeper Khadija Er-Rmichi.

The South Americans continued to press but Morocco hung on to trigger wild celebrations from their players and Pedros as well.

“We did not expect to have this result but that is football,” said Colombia coach Nelson Abadia.

“We suffered, but we know that we (deserved to have) qualified with what we have been doing.” - AFP