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Morocco third African team in World Cup last 16 as Germany crash out

Morocco players celebrate advancing to the knockout stage after the 1-0 Women's World Cup group H victory against Colombia at Perth Rectangular Stadium, Australia on August 3 2023.
Morocco players celebrate advancing to the knockout stage after the 1-0 Women's World Cup group H victory against Colombia at Perth Rectangular Stadium, Australia on August 3 2023.
Image: Paul Kane/Getty Images

Debutants Morocco stunned Colombia 1-0 in their final group match in Perth on Thursday to reach the last 16 of the Women's World Cup at the first attempt along with their opponents.

Morocco became the third African team out of four to progress past the group phase in Australasia, joining Banyana Banyana and Nigeria.

The 72nd-ranked Moroccans scored through An Anissa Lahmari's toe-poke after a saved penalty at the end of the first half but their passage was only secured after South Korea held twice champions Germany to a 1-1 draw in the other group H match.

Colombia topped the group with six points, bettering runners-up Morocco on goal difference, while Germany and South Korea depart the tournament.

Morocco, who were thumped 6-0 by Germany in their opener before beating South Korea 1-0, move on to meet France in Adelaide and Colombia play Jamaica in Melbourne on Tuesday.

The two teams generated chances in the first half, but it was only in stoppage time when Colombia's Daniela Arias clumsily fouled forward Ibtissam Jraidi in the penalty area that Morocco had a genuine scoring opportunity.

Las Cafeteras keeper Catalina Perez dived to her left to stop Ghizlane Chebbak's spot-kick but midfielder Lahmari nudged the ball into the net in the ensuing goalmouth scramble.

Colombia dominated play in search of an equaliser after the break, with Daniela Montoya and Lorena Bedoya Durango getting shots away in the 59th minute.

Morocco goalkeeper Khadija Er-Rmichi found herself in the thick of it again in the 72nd minute when she tipped teenage striker Linda Caicedo's shot over the bar.

A frenzied finish saw end-to-end action, but the Arab nation held on to continue their fairy-tale start to their first World Cup campaign.

Twice former winners Germany crashed out in the opening phase for the first time with their draw against South Korea.

The Germans, champions in 2003 and 2007 and ranked second in the world, needed a win to be sure of progressing and Morocco's win over Colombia in the other group match in Perth sent both those teams through to the last 16.

The Koreans took a surprise early lead against Germany when Cho So-hyun netted in the sixth minute but, while Alexandra Popp equalised with a trademark header three minutes before the interval, Germany were unable to find the winner needed to advance.


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