Morocco planning more surprises
Spain will be favourites to beat Morocco in the World Cup last 16 on Tuesday but the teams’ experiences in the group phase were a reminder of the unpredictability of tournament football.
Spain, who humbled Costa Rica 7-0 in their opening game, finished second in Group E behind Japan while Morocco defied the odds to win Group F ahead of Croatia and Belgium.
The Spanish, world champions in 2010, lost their last group match to Japan and face a difficult test from a Moroccan side growing in confidence under coach Walid Regragui.
After Morocco had beaten Canada 2-1 to reach the last 16 for only the second time and first since 1986, FIFA posted a photo of Regragui holding an avocado with a soccer ball inside it and pointing his finger at his head in a defiant message to his critics.
The goal they conceded to Canada was their first in six matches under Regragui and during the victory celebrations, the players gathered around the coach touching his head.
“They like to hit me on the head. Perhaps this will be lucky omen for them,” Regragui told reporters.