National and International


By Our Reporter

QATAR: Spain’s bid to return to the summit of the world game has seen them paired with Morocco in the Qatar 2022 Round of 16, after Luis Enrique’s side surprisingly finished second in Group E.

A shock 2-1 defeat to Japan in their final group game — the Samurai Blue’s second upset win of the group after beating Germany in their opener — edged La Roja off top spot, and they now take on Group F winners Morocco in the first knockout stage.

Morocco is set to face Portugal or Switzerland in the quarter-finals.

Spain finished second in their group despite thrashing Costa Rica and drawing with Germany, due to a shock loss to Japan on their last matchday of the first round.

Meanwhile, Morocco stunned Belgium and beat Canada after an opening draw with Croatia, topping their group to set up this tie with 2010 champions Spain.

The North Africans have been one of the surprise packages in Qatar, with Walid Regragui’s team reaching the Round of 16 for the first time since 1986.

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