World Cup 2022: Morocco on course to end 24-year wait for THIS after beating Belgium

Zakaria Aboukhlal of Morocco celebrates with teammates after scoring their team's second goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group F match between Belgium and Morocco at Al Thumama Stadium on November 27, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.
(Image credit: Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

Morocco are on track to become the first African team to win their World Cup group since 1998, after their 2-0 win over Belgium at World Cup 2022.

The Atlas Lions impressed in holding Croatia to a goalless draw in their Group F opener on Wednesday – and they went one better on Sunday afternoon.

Abdelhamid Sabiri's cleverly worked 73rd-minute free-kick (after Hakim Ziyech had an almost identical effort ruled out in first-half stoppage time for offside following a VAR check) and Zakaria Aboukhlal's 92nd-minute strike downed Roberto Martinez's side – who finished third at the 2018 World Cup – at the Al Thumama Stadium.

See more

The victory means that if Morocco better Belgium's result in the final round of group games, they will be the first African nation since Nigeria – who won their group at France 98 and USA 94 – to advance to the last 16 as group winners.

It would be the second time the Atlas Lions have done so: they topped a group also containing England, Poland and Portugal in 1986 – the only previous occasion on which they've reached the knockout stages of the World Cup.

As for Belgium, this was their first defeat in the group stage of a World Cup since losing 1-0 to Saudi Arabia in 1994.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Tom Hancock started freelancing for FourFourTwo in April 2019 and has also written for The Analyst and When Saturday Comes, among others. He supports Wycombe Wanderers and has a soft spot for Wealdstone. A self-confessed statto, he has been known to watch football with a spreadsheet (or several) open...