In an extraordinary turn of events, Morocco achieved their first-ever victory at the Women’s World Cup, stunning South Korea in a shocking upset. The triumph marked a significant milestone for the North African team, ranked 72nd in the world, as they managed to defeat their formidable 17th-ranked opponents.
The historic moment unfolded in the sixth minute of the match when Ibtissam Jraidi, with a brilliant header, scored Morocco’s first-ever World Cup goal. The goal was made possible by Hanane Ait Elhaj’s precise cross, highlighting Morocco’s improved performance compared to their previous 6-0 loss to Germany in Group H.
An additional historic moment during the match came through Morocco’s defender Nouhaila Benzina, who became the first player to wear a hijab in a World Cup game. This milestone further underscored the team’s determination to excel on the global stage.
Jraidi, the goal scorer, expressed her elation after the game, stating, “We are just so pleased our efforts have paid off. This victory is for Morocco and Arabs, it’s the fruit of our hard work.” Her words captured the sentiment of the entire team, basking in the glory of their well-deserved achievement.
Despite South Korea’s efforts to rally in the second half, they could not find an equalizer against the resolute Moroccan defense. Ji So-yun came close with a central free-kick just outside the penalty area in the 82nd minute, but Morocco’s defensive wall denied her a chance to level the score.
As the match neared its conclusion, South Korea’s sixteen-year-old substitute, Casey Phair, had a late opportunity to salvage a draw. However, her shot went wide, sealing Morocco’s historic victory and making it a day to remember for the African nation.
With this defeat, South Korea faced elimination from the tournament unless Germany avoided defeat against Colombia on Sunday, setting the stage for a tense showdown in the group stage.
Morocco’s coach, Reynald Pedros, praised his team’s achievement, saying, “There’s a sense of pride for us to pull this first World Cup win out of the bag. We didn’t change our philosophy. The Korean team is not like the German team and we got off to a blinding start. We were efficient in the box, that was missing against Germany.”
The triumph of Morocco at the Women’s World Cup resonated with fans around the world, as the underdog team showcased their determination and ability to compete at the highest level of women’s football. The victory served as an inspiration and a testament to the growing diversity and talent within the sport, and it marked a historic moment for Moroccan football and women’s sports in general.