Morocco finished as the table toppers in Group F ahead of 2018 runners-up Croatia, as they picked up a couple of wins in their three group-stage games while drawing the other one. They finished their group-stage campaign with a 2-1 win over Canada, thanks to first-half goals from Hakim Ziyech and Youssef En-Nesyri.
Spain fell to a shock 2-1 defeat against Japan in their final group-stage game and came second behind the Asian team in Group E. They kicked off their campaign with a bang, scoring seven goals without a reply against Costa Rica before scoring a goal apiece in the two games that followed.
Morocco vs Spain Head-to-Head stats
The two teams have crossed paths three times thus far, with all meetings being competitive games. They first met in the 1962 FIFA World Cup qualification CAF–UEFA play-offs, with Spain recording a 4-2 win on aggregate. They defeated Morocco 1-0 away and secured their promotion to the main event in 1962 with a 3-2 home win.
They met in the group stage of the 2018 World Cup as well. They played out a 2-2 draw in that meeting, with Iago Aspas scoring an injury-time equalizer to deny Morocco the three points from the game.
Morocco form guide: W-W-D-W-D
Spain form guide: L-D-W-W-W
Morocco vs Spain: Numbers you need to know before their FIFA World Cup 2022 encounter
Morocco have qualified for the knockout stage of the competition for just the second time in history. They last made it to the round of 16 in 1986, losing 1-0 to Germany.
Spain made it to the round of 16 in 2018 as well, but were eliminated on penalties after playing out a 1-1 draw against Russia. They will be meeting an African team for the first time in the knockout stage of the World Cup.
The Atlas Lions are undefeated in their last four games at the World Cup, scoring two goals in three of these games and keeping two clean sheets in that period. Spain, on the other hand, have just one win in their last five games in the competition.
Morocco have been defensively solid in their three group-stage games and are likely to cause some problems for Spain. La Furia Roja have a strong squad and might have saved their best for the knockout stages.
While we expect the game to be a close one, Spain are likely to emerge as the winners.