On their Women’s World Cup debut, Morocco achieved a historic milestone by advancing to the last 16 after defeating Colombia, although the South American team still progresses as Group H winners.
Morocco secured their spot in the knockout rounds as group runners-up when Anissa Lahmari scored the only goal through a rebound after captain Ghizlane Chebbak’s penalty was initially saved. Despite suffering a 6-0 defeat to Germany in their opener, Morocco bounced back with successive wins against South Korea and Colombia. Their impressive performances earned them a match against France in Adelaide in the next round.
Colombia, having earned two wins in their first two matches and finishing above Morocco on goal difference, will face Jamaica in Melbourne earlier on 8 August.
Of the eight debutants at the 2023 Women’s World Cup, only Morocco managed to win two matches at the tournament. Other debutants exited the competition earlier, except for the Philippines, who defeated co-hosts New Zealand, and Portugal, who put up a strong fight against the USA.
Morocco’s journey to the last 16 is a remarkable and unexpected achievement, mirroring the historic success of the country’s men’s team, which became the first African side to reach a FIFA World Cup semi-final at Qatar 2022.
Colombia’s path to the top spot in Group H was nearly threatened by Germany, who had they won, would have put Colombia in need of a point to guarantee top position. Despite their strong starting lineup, including players on yellow cards, Colombia’s attacking performance was muted, and they lacked the sharpness seen in their previous matches. They must rediscover their form to stay on course for a potential quarter-final clash with England.