Morocco yesterday became the third African team to qualify for the round of 16 of the ongoing FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. They have also etched their names in the history books by advancing to the knock-out stage of the FIFA Women’s World Cup at the first attempt.
In a night of breathtaking football, the Atlas Lionessesteam achieved the historic milestone, securing their place in the Round of 16 in their debut appearance at the Women’s World Cup.
A lone goal by Anissa Lahmari deep in first half stoppage time was enough to give the tournament debutants a famous 1-0 victory over a dangerous Colombia side in their final Group H match.
The Atlas Lionesses dominated the match right from the outset, displaying their prowess and determination to advance. With the ball at their feet, they showcased their exceptional skill, enjoying more possession and creating numerous scoring opportunities.
Despite the intense battle on the field, clear-cut chances were scarce during the first half of the game.
As the clock ticked towards half-time, a pivotal moment arose when Ibtissam Jraidi was brought down inside the penalty area, causing a moment of suspense. Ghizlane Chebbak took the resulting penalty, but her shot was met with an excellent save from the Colombian goalkeeper.
However, destiny had a different plan, and Anissa Lahmari seized the moment, pouncing on the rebound and skillfully slotting the ball into the back of the net .
The stadium erupted in jubilation as Morocco claimed a priceless lead, leapfrogging Germany to secure the second spot in Group H. The jubilant Moroccan players and fans celebrated wildly at the final whistle, knowing qualification had been secured courtesy of Germany and Korea Republic playing out a 1-1 draw in the other group match .
The second half witnessed a fierce battle as Colombia fought hard to equalize and keep their hopes alive. They launched a series of impressive attacks, but Morocco’s goalkeeper, Khadija Er-Rmichi, stood tall, making spectacular saves to deny the South American side time and again.
With every heart-stopping minute, the tension soared, but Morocco’s resolute defense held firm, frustrating their opponents’ attempts to find the equalizer.
Anissa Lahmari’s outstanding performance on the pitch earned her the well-deserved accolade of Player of the Match. Her crucial goal in the first half propelled her team to victory, solidifying her place as a key player in Morocco’s quest for glory.
By securing one of the second-placed finishes, Morocco have now set up a clash with France on Tuesday. Regardless of the outcome, the Atlas Lionesses have done Africa proud. Their historic journey is one that will inspire girls across the continent to pursue their dreams.