In their last group encounter on Thursday in Perth, Morocco upset Colombia 1-0 to advance to the round of 16 of the Women’s World Cup for the first time.
Along with their opponents, Morocco is also making their first appearance in the round of 16.
The 72nd ranked Moroccans scored with An Anissa Lahmari’s toepoke after a penalty was saved at the conclusion of the first half, but their passage was only confirmed when South Korea held two-time defending champions Germany to a 1-1 draw in the other Group H encounter.
Colombia finished in first place in the group with six points, one point ahead of Morocco, who finished in second place. Germany and South Korea were eliminated from the competition.
Morocco, who were defeated by Germany 6-0 in their first match before overcoming South Korea 1-0, go on to face France in Adelaide, while Colombia play Jamaica in Melbourne on Tuesday. Morocco’s opening match was against Germany and they lost 6-0.
Both sides had scoring opportunities in the first half, but Morocco’s best chance to score didn’t come until the last seconds of stoppage time, when Colombia’s Daniela Arias made a careless foul on Morocco’s striker Ibtissam Jraidi inside the penalty area. This gave Morocco the chance to take the lead.
Catalina Perez, the goalkeeper for Las Cafeteras, made a diving save to her left to save Ghizlane Chebbak’s penalty kick, but in the subsequent scramble in the goalmouth, midfielder Lahmari pushed the ball into the net.
After the halftime break, Colombia exerted their dominance over the game and went in quest of an equalizer. In the 59th minute, Daniela Montoya and Lorena Bedoya Durango both had attempts on goal.
After a little respite, Morocco goalkeeper Khadija Er-Rmichi was thrust back into the action in the 72nd minute when she deflected a drive from teenage attacker Linda Caicedo high over the crossbar.
The game’s last minutes were filled with nonstop activity, but the Arab country was able to hang on to their lead and maintain their dream start to their first World Cup campaign.