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World Cup: Belgium under serious pressure after surprise defeat against Morocco

Belgium lose their second World Cup match in Qatar against Morocco
21:07 28/11/2022

Belgium’s Red Devils now have to focus on their final group match after a disastrous game against an energised Morocco in the Qatar World Cup on Sunday.

A floodlit stadium full of fans could be heard across the desert in the build up to the match. The only problem for Belgium was that the majority were Moroccans – and their supporters - singing their national anthem proudly and loudly. It was perhaps omen for the upset that was to follow.

The first half was dominated by rather mundane play apart from a fear-inducing set piece from the Moroccans. A free kick caught Thibaut Courtois off guard, but as the VAR zoomed in, it revealed captain Romain Saïss was just offside. Although he didn’t assist in the goal, his approach to the near post affected the goalkeeper’s judgement and resulted in the dramatic decision.

The Moroccan’s intent, however, was clear and the second half saw the team push against Belgium’s weak defence, a problem highlighted in the previous game against Canada. It was not until the 73rd minute though, that Morocco opened the flood gates with a brilliant free kick shot from the very same Romain Saïss. Zakaria Aboukhlal scored another goal in added time for Morocco to make the final score 2-0 and clinch the win against the Red Devils.

Belgium now has to focus on its game against Croatia on Thursday afternoon. A loss would signal the end of Belgium’s World Cup run and dash fans' dreams of tournament success. Roberto Martinez was obviously disappointed by the result, but showed confidence in his team’s ability when speaking after the match. “We need to make sure we get stronger together… We’ll get ready for the third game.”

Photo: Kevin De Bruyne © Belga/Bruno Fahy

Written by Louis Kernoa-Pascoe