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Morocco vs Spain, World Cup 2022 live: score, team news and updates from last 16

Hello and welcome to Telegraph Sport’s live coverage of Morocco versus Spain in the last 16 of this year’s World Cup. This afternoon’s game is due to kick off at 3pm at the Education City Stadium, with the winner facing either Portugal or Switzerland (who face each other at 7pm) in the quarter-finals.

At the start of the tournament, the likelihood of these two teams facing each other seemed remote. Morocco’s qualification chances were seen as slender, having been drawn in a group alongside big beasts like Croatia and Belgium, while Spain were on a dazzling run, destined to win Group E ahead of Germany, Japan and Costa Rica.

But an energetic Morocco side, led by Achraf Hakimi and Hakim Ziyech, cut down ageing European opponents to top their group and reach the knockout stages for the first time since 1986. Spain, meanwhile, fell victim to giant-killing Japan in their third fixture, and ended up finishing as runners-up in a group which came down to the wire.

Moroccan head coach Walid Regragui acknowledged the chasm of World Cup experience between the two teams but ahead of the match he suggested that Morocco may yet have a surprise “up [their] sleeve”.

“It’s important for us to put our emotions aside and pull out all the stops. The great nations are here, and it’s important for us to to give them a run for their money,” he said.

“We tell this to our kids that you have to have dreams. Africa has never won a World Cup. Why not give them this dream?”

With Senegal out following England’s 3-0 victory against the Lions of Teranga on Sunday evening, Morocco are the only African team left in the competition, and Regragui stressed that before, it was “just the Moroccans who supported us”.

He added: “Now it is the Africans and the Arabs. We will come in with a winner’s attitude. We will come in swinging. We want to hoist our Moroccan flag up high.”

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