Morocco was the last to pull off an incredible World Cup defeat, beating world runner-up Belgium 2-0, hours after Costa Rica shocked Japan.
Abdelhamid Sabiri arrogantly scored from a narrow angle and Morocco stunned their Group F rivals, while his substitute Zakaria Aboukhlal added a second to his downtime.
Sabiri’s free kick near the corner flag caught Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois from the close post, who was curling up for the winner in the 73rd minute, securing only Morocco’s third win in the World Cup finals, and reddening the often reliable Belgian goalkeeper for his fault. .
Aboukhlal’s goal came with a counterattack set up by Hakim Ziyech as Belgium rushed forward for the equalizer.
The North Africans also had the ball in the last kick of the first half and Ziyech’s free kick cleared everyone inside the penalty area and caught Courtois without seeing him, but Moroccan captain Romain Saiss was found to be offside under VAR control.
Morocco finished with three points in two games against Belgium, increasing to four points.
Canada and Croatia would face later in Sunday’s other Group F match.
nulling Costa Rica shots
Costa Rica dealt a major blow to Japan’s hopes of reaching the World Cup Round of 16 after scoring seven goals against Spain in a surprise 1-0 win in Group E on Sunday.
Keysher Fuller’s 81-minute effort, Costa Rica’s first shot on goal in the entire tournament so far, stunned the Japanese fans in the stadium and left the group completely exposed.
Japan’s historic victory over Germany in their first match and Costa Rica’s 7-0 loss to Spain paved the way for Japan to enter the last 16 with a substitute game.
But a drastically changed formation failed to ignite, and their hopes of reaching the knockout stage for a fourth time are now in balance with their last game against Spain.
Deleted before kick-off, Costa Rica now ranks with Japan on three points and has a chance to reach the last 16.
Heavyweights Spain and Germany play next.
The mind-blowing boredom of the first half even tested the patience of the Japanese fans, who were huddled in blue shirts at one end of Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, drumming.
Apart from the two-minute burst from Japan at the start of the match, the rest of the first half was played at turtle speed.
For Costa Rica, the absence of a goal-mouth move was probably very welcome, as they gave three half-hours in the opening against Spain.
Both goalies were unnecessary and the only event that could have passed as a goal clearance action was a sudden cross from Japan’s Ritsu Doan over the goal and a shot from the crossbar by Costa Rican forward Joel Campbell.
Japan’s coach Hajime Moriyasu knocked out defender Yuto Nagatomo at halftime and was replaced by offensive player Takuma Asano, who surprisingly remained on the bench despite the winning goal against Germany.
Just after the break, Japan looked more menacing as Hidemasa Morita finally tested Keylor Navas with a bitter drive, and the Costa Rican goalkeeper turned his back.
Kicking towards their fans, Japan began to take control and Moriyasu made another offensive change as midfielder Kaoru Mitoma came in for right-back Miki Yamane.
Japan had camped halfway through Costa Rica, but it seemed it was only a matter of time before their pressure worked, but on the rare occasion, Japan failed to clear the ball and Fuller tumbled a shot that goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda couldn’t keep away.
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