Follow for all HIGHLIGHTS from the FIFA World Cup clash between Belgium and Morocco.
Mertens hangs a long ball in hopes of Lukaku getting it under his control. But he can’t and Morocco holds on again. Five minutes added on as Morocco looks to hold on to what would be just its third win in FIFA World Cup. Ziyech doubles down the centre and he sets up Zakaria Aboukhlal who thunders it into the roof of the net. GOALLL!!! That is it for Morocco. A first World Cup win in 24 years for Morocco and the players and fans shed tears of joy!!! WHAT A WIN!!
Morocco is defending in numbers as it looks to hold on to its winning position. Mertens has also come in for Belgium as it floods forward in hopes for an equaliser.
Witsel goes into 50-50 ball and ends up fouling Ziyech. Meanwhile, Lukaku is introduced as Martinez throws in his last dice.
Belgium wins a corner and KdB tries to bend one in after a short corner. But Morocco had men at the right places. Belgium seems to be running out of ideas.
Morocco wins a freekick down the left. It is Sabiri with the kick and he finds Courtois out position at the first post and it creeps in, GOAALL!!!! Courtois wouldn’t want to look at that again
KdB has been off his game, in comparison to his usual lofty standards. He tries to thread a through ball for Batshuayi, but Morocco regroups quickly for it
Belgium too is getting into the game, with Thorgan Hazard and Batshuayi with shots on target for the European side.
Boufal is at it again as he dances his way through the left flank and sends a cross in, but it is too wide. He gets another chance to cross it, but this time Alderweild rises high to head it away.
Morocco attacking with greater intent in the second half. It is pushing more men forward in hopes of getting an opener.
Boufal shuffles past a few defenders down the left and shoots and it flies just wide off the post. Another long ball from Morocco, but En-Nesyri can’t get the ball under control.
Hazard finally gets his act right. Down the right, he skips past a marker and lashes one which had to be pushed away by the keeper. Meunier drives forward in a counter attack, but Mazaraoui is there to block the cross.
Belgium yet to come out of the shell in the second half. Morocco has started the better side. Ziyech with another shot and Courtois grabs it with ease.
Morocco wins another freekick inside Belgian territory, but Ziyech can’t find the right spot.
Morocco begins the second half with a spell of possession.
There has been no rhythm for either side. Morocco’s rigid structure has neutralised the Belgian attack. Morocco gets a free kick down the right and it is Ziyech who whips it in. It evades everyone and Courtois can’t sight the ball as it brushes past him into the goal. Morocco players celebrate. But the referee, under advice from VAR takes a look at it and rules the goal offside. AND THAT IS HALFTIME AND THE SCORE IS 0-0.
Belgium has lacked the creative spark despite the presence of Hazard and de Bruyne. KdB is now dropping deeper to initiate play for Belgium.
KdB wins another freekick for Belgium. This time down the left and it is KdB himself who will take the set piece. He tries to put it deep into the far post, but it flies just wide.
KdB finds Meunier on the right, but his low cross is too close to the keeper. Hakimi evades Castagne and enters the box. He tries to smash it in past Courtois, but over hits the shot. Chance missed.
Thorgan Hazard is hacked down by Amallah. But Belgium fails to progress the ball from the resultant freekick. Both sides have locked themselves in a midfield battle with neither side able to progress further.
Meunier misreads a high ball and Boufal is quick to pounce, He sends a deep ball into the box for Ziyech, who sets up En-Nesyri, but his shot is miles high off the post.
Courtois takes a huge risk after he held on to the ball a little too long. He escapes with a fake pass. Nervy moment there for Belgium.
Ziyech pops up again and he drifts in and unleashes a shot, which is watched over the bar by Courtois.
Belgium brings the ball back from out. Meunier springs up in the left flank somehow and after a few failed shots and passes, he launches a shot which is straight to the keeper.
Morocco has been steadfast so far, with its defence offering very little space for Belgian attackers. Belgium plays an innovative set piece ploy, but KdB’s shot is blocked.
KdB wins a freekick at the corner of the penalty box. His delivery was potent enough. Belgium now attacks down the left. It wins a corner, which is played short, but the crossing opportunity is missed.
Thorgan Hazard has been heavily involved for Belgium so far. Belgium taking it slow as it passes it way around the back, but Meunier fails to control the ball and the Morocco gets the possession.
Ziyech posing some real danger from the right for Morocco. He whips in another cross and Vertonghen had to stay sharp to clear it. Belgium wins a couple of corners, but nothing much from it.
And the game kicks off. Morocco thunders through the right with Ziyech leading the charge, but his cross is close to Courtois.
Belgium midfielder Kevin De Bruyne knew he didn’t play well in his team’s opening World Cup game. He said as much when he accepted the man of the match award.
“I don’t know why I got the trophy,” De Bruyne said. “Maybe it’s because of my name.”
With De Bruyne looking to improve after the unimpressive 1-0 win over Canada, Belgium has a second chance against Morocco on Sunday to show why it is the No. 2-ranked team in the world behind Brazil .
This could also be the last World Cup chance for many on the highly-rated Belgian squad, as the “golden generation” has often been reminded in the runup to Qatar. The spine of the team — De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Axel Witsel, Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois — are all in their 30s.
Hazard acknowledged that Belgium’s chances were better at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. But he’s not writing off this tournament.
“The team was better four years ago. Still we have the quality to win games, to win competitions,” he said. “We have a few guys — they are a bit older now, but we have experience. We have the best goalkeeper in the world. We have one of the best midfields in the world. We have the strikers. We are a complete team.”
Hazard said first games are tough, and the Canada opener was typical.
“There’s always a lot of stress around it and you don’t want to lose the ball so you tend to hide a little bit,” he said. “I’m not worried. We need to work together. We need to start getting to know each other again.”
Coach Roberto Martinez, who said the performance against Canada was one of Belgium’s worst since he’s been in charge, might be tempted to bring in fresh faces against Morocco.
“Our first half against Canada, we didn’t play at our top level,” Martinez said. “But we reacted very well during the second half.”
Martinez would dearly love to bring back powerful striker Romelu Lukaku, who missed the Canada opener with a left thigh injury and is doubtful for the entire group stage. Some Belgian media has been reporting that Belgium’s record goal-scorer could make an earlier-than-expected return against the Moroccans at Al Thumama Stadium in Doha.
Morocco will be less fazed at the prospect of trying to contain De Bruyne having already succeeded at subduing another of the world’s best midfielders in Luka Modric.
A 0-0 draw with 2018 World Cup finalist Croatia in their first Group F game was a promising start to the World Cup for Morocco and especially for coach Walid Regragui, who had less than three months to prepare his team having only been hired at the end of August.
He had coached Morocco in just three friendly games before entering the World Cup. Compare that to Zlatko Dalic’s five years in charge of Croatia. Or Martinez’s six years with Belgium.
The World Cup schedule gave Morocco a daunting start with 2018 runners-up Modric and Croatia followed by De Bruyne and Belgium, who finished third in that last World Cup. But the point against Croatia provided a real confidence-booster.
“Arriving in these conditions is not easy, but I accepted the challenge,” Regragui said. And the Croatia result “made us believe,” he added.
When is the FIFA World Cup match between Belgium vs Morocco?
The FIFA World Cup Group C match between Belgium and Morocco will start at 6:30pm IST at the Al Thumama stadium.
Where to watch the live telecast of Belgium vs Morocco in the FIFA World Cup 2022 in India?
The live telecast of the Group C match between Belgium and Morocco will be available on Sports18 in India.
Where to watch the live stream of Belgium vs Morocco in the FIFA World Cup 2022 in India?
The live stream of the Group C match between Belgium and Morocco will be available on Voot, Jio Cinema in India.