Morocco snatched a 2-0 win over Belgium following brilliant techniques from the substitutes, Zakaria Aboukhlal and Abdelhamid Sabiri.
Substitute Abdelhamid Sabiri got one past Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois by whipping in a free kick from a tight angle at the near post in the 73rd minute for Morocco’s first goal. Zakaria Aboukhlal then guided a shot into the roof of the net off a pass from Hakim Ziyech in stoppage time.
Belgium, ranked No. 2 in the world behind Brazil, had won its last seven group games at the World Cup. It was Morocco’s first win at a World Cup since 1998 and only its third ever.
Belgium would have become the second team after defending champion France to qualify for the knockout stage if it had beaten the Moroccans who are ranked No. 22 in the world.
Belgium will next play 2018 finalist Croatia in its final group match, while Morocco will face Canada.
Roberto Martínez’s team can still qualify for the last 16 but they look like a fading shadow of the side that finished third in Russia in 2018.
In the build-up to Belgium’s 2-0 defeat against Morocco, Kevin De Bruyne conceded that his country’s so-called ‘Golden Generation’ was at an end.
When asked about the claims of his nation being contenders for the ultimate prize in Qatar, he said “No chance, we’re too old. I think our chance was 2018. We have a good team, but it is ageing.”