Morocco fly high as Belgium sent back home

Morocco celebrate. PHOTO FIFA.COM

 #FIFAWorldCup 2022

 Croatia 0 Belgium 0
 Canada 1 Morocco 2
 Japan vs Spain 10pm (UBC tv)
 Costa Rica vs Germany 10pm

Martinez: That was my last game as Belgium coach

Doha, Qatar | FIFA.COM |  Morocco survived a courageous Canada comeback to win 2-1 and advance to the knockout phase as Group F winners. Hakim Ziyech and Youssef En Nesyri had the Atlas Lions 2-0 up inside 25 minutes, but an Nayef Aguerd own-goal swung momentum in the Canucks’ favour.

Atiba Hutchinson hit the bar in the second half, with the ball bouncing down on the line and back out, and Morocco held on for the three points. Morocco will now face the runners-up in Group E, which contains Costa Rica, Germany, Japan and Spain, in the last 16.

Canada will go home having lost all three matches, but having given their opponents trouble in each of them.

Meanwhile, Roberto Martinez has revealed that will step down as Belgium coach after the team exited the FIFA World Cup.

The former Everton and Wigan Athletic manager, who has led the Red Devils for six years, made the announcement in the wake of a 0-0 draw with Croatia that ended his team’s involvement at Qatar 2022.

“That was my last game with the national team and it’s emotional, as you can imagine,” he said in a tearful press conference. “It has been amazing.

“In six years, everything you want to do in a club, we have been able to do it in a national team. It makes me extremely proud. This team have given everyone incredible joy. But now it’s time to accept that this is my last game.”

Referee Frappart reaches career pinnacle

The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is set to create a milestone in the history of refereeing. When Costa Rica and Germany meet in Group E on Thursday, there will be no man in the middle, but a woman – France’s Stephanie Frappart, who will become the first female to take charge of a men’s World Cup match. Her appointment was announced by the tournament organisers on Tuesday and means the 38-year-old match official will take her place in the history of the game. Frappart took charge of two matches in the qualifiers for the tournament, but her presence at the World Cup itself is a significant moment.

The Frenchwoman was the fourth official in the 0-0 draw between Mexico and Poland on the opening matchday in Group C, becoming the first woman to occupy the role at a men’s World Cup. Frappart is no stranger to the biggest stage in the game, having officiated in six matches at the last two FIFA Women’s World Cup competitions – Canada 2015 and France 2019.

Frappart also has experience of elite men’s club competitions. In early November, she refereed Real Madrid’s 5-1 home defeat of Celtic in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League, and was also in charge of Juventus’ meeting with Dynamo Kyiv in the same competition in December 2020, a match in which Cristiano Ronaldo scored. In 2019 she became the first woman to referee a Ligue 1 match, between Angers and Strasbourg, and that same year she took charge of the UEFA Super Cup match between Liverpool and Chelsea, earning praise from Jurgen Klopp in the process.■

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