Abdelhamid Sabiri scored from an audaciously tight angle and fellow substitute Zakaria Aboukhlal added a second in stoppage time as Morocco pulled off a shock 2-0 win over Belgium in World Cup Group F on Sunday.
Sabiri’s free kick from near the corner flag caught out Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois at the near post as it curled in for the 73rd-minute winner, securing Morocco's third-ever victory at the World Cup. Aboukhlal's goal came on the counter-attack, set up by Hakim Ziyech as Belgium were caught pressing forward for the equaliser.
The North Africans also had the ball in the net with the last kick of the first half as Ziyech’s free-kick eluded everyone in the penalty area and caught Courtois unsighted, but a VAR check found skipper Romain Saiss had been just offside. Morocco moved on to four points from two games with Belgium, second in the world rankings, on three. Canada and Croatia meet next.
Belgium vs Morocco highlights
GOA-NO! Morocco opener ruled out
GOAL! Sabiri gets the opener
GOAL! Aboukhlal seals famous win
Belgium 0 - 2 Morocco
Thanks for joining us!
15:20 , Marc Mayo
Morocco have won a game at the World Cup for the first time in 24 years with a superb performance to beat Belgium 2-0 on Sunday.
Ready for more football?
15:11 , Marc Mayo
Canada and Croatia are up next in Group F, in a 4pm kick-off.
Standard Sport’s Nizaar Kinsella is a happy bunny
15:06 , Marc Mayo
Highlights: Sabiri’s breakthrough goal
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This is what you would describe as ‘scenes'
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Massive celebrations inside the stadium!
FULL TIME! Belgium 0-2 Morocco
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Another big shock in Qatar!
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90+5 mins: Morocco’s fans have made for a great atmosphere today and will soon be able to celebrate a first World Cup win in 24 years...
Sabiri booked late on for obstruction.
GGOOOOOOAAAALLLLLLL!!!!! Belgium 0-2 Morocco | Aboukhlal
14:52 , Marc Mayo
90+2 mins: THAT IS THAT!
Wow! Ziyech does brilliantly from a long ball forward, in comes the cross and Aboukhlal fires the shot into the roof of then net!
14:50 , Marc Mayo
90 mins: Hamdallah is played through and he could so easily take it to the corner...
Instead he strolls forward, holding off Witsel and his shot wins a corner kick!
Five minutes added on.
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89 mins: Lukaku exasperated and Morocco fans joyous as another Belgium cross flies into touch.
Not. Long. Left.
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87 mins: Smart play from Ziyech to win a foul off Witself at a long clearance upfield.
That will earn a moment of respite for Morocco.
14:45 , Marc Mayo
85 mins: Morocco break and Ziyech spins the ball towards Hamdallah.
Only a fine covering run from Trossard sweeps up the pass and Belgium prepare to build a fresh attack.
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82 mins: Gasps behind the goal as Vertonghen places a header across goal from a corner... and it bounces agonisingly wide!
14:41 , Marc Mayo
81 mins: Enter Lukaku... Meunier off for Belgium.
The Inter Milan striker was not meant to be fit to play today!
14:39 , Marc Mayo
80 mins: A huge test for Belgium.
Trossard beats one man but has two defenders on his case to marshall him out for a goal kick.
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78 mins: The stadium, full of Moroccans, is rocking!
Ounahi comes off for El Yamiq in their final change. Can they hold on for a first World Cup win since 1998?
14:35 , Marc Mayo
75 mins: Belgium respond with Trossard and De Ketelaere on for Thorgan Hazard and the woeful Batshuayi.
GGGGGOOOOOOOAAAALLLL!!!! Belgium 0-1 Morocco | Sabiri
14:33 , Marc Mayo
73 mins: THIS ONE COUNTS!
Just like Ziyech earlier, Sabiri’s free-kick goes through the crowd and Saiss puts off Courtois as it goes in - only this time he’s onside!
14:32 , Marc Mayo
72 mins: Brilliant play from one corner to the other as Morocco break out of the own right flank, working it well to Attiat-Allah to win a free-kick against Meunier high up the pitch.
That is that for Boufal and En-Nesyri, on come Hamdallah and Aboukhlal.
14:29 , Marc Mayo
69 mins: Classic shouts of “shooooot” from the fans rarely lead in stonking goals, as Ounahi discovers when following orders to belt a long-range hit at goal - and landing it in amongst the Moroccan fans who had called for the shot.
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67 mins: Morocco go to their bench.
Amallah off for Sabiri with Attiat-Allah replacing Hakimi at full back, likely an injury for the PSG man.
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65 mins: Mertens shows his class to skip around a challenge 20 yards out and fire a shot that Munir can only parry into a dangerous area.
Morocco get it clear after a key warning shot from Belgium.
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64 mins: Delightful from Boufal to work a crossing opportunity on his left, but his ball in is overhit with no players at the far post.
It comes back in from Hakimi and Vertonghen steals in ahead of En-Nesyri to clear a teasing Boufal cross!
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61 mins: Mazraoui offers a hopeful punt from distance, dragging his effort wide.
Belgium have sent Lukaku to warm up...
14:20 , Marc Mayo
59 mins: Here comes the old-timer.
Mertens summoned off the bench to replace Eden Hazard. Tielemans is also on, for Onana.
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56 mins: Case in point!
Boufal beats Meunier with a fine piece of skill and whips a shot towards the far post... it’s only just wide!
14:16 , Marc Mayo
55 mins: The main intrigue in this game is that it has been so even, both sides looking more than capable on the ball and threatening in attack.
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52 mins: Good work from Eden Hazard to beat his man on the right and Munir palms a shot wide of the near post!
Onana’s header skews over from the corner.
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50 mins: Morocco come forward and you can see each player cannot help but consider trying their luck from range.
Ziyech is the one to let loose a low, hard effort that Courtois smothers.
14:09 , Marc Mayo
48 mins: First Morocco fail to make the most of a free-kick inside Belgium’s half before a pair of sloppy passes halt the Belgian advance in reply.
It’s been that sort of tournament...
14:05 , Marc Mayo
No changes as we get back underway in Doha.
14:01 , Marc Mayo
No surprise to see Belgium dominating possession, 70 to 30 per cent.
They hold a six to three lead in terms of shots, with the only one on target.
A tight game
13:56 , Marc Mayo
Morocco have grown into the game and will take heart from that solid finish to the half.
Batshuayi and Hakimi have had the best chances for either side, Belgium unable to make their early domination pay.
13:53 , Marc Mayo
So, let’s explain that disallowed goal: Ziyech’s free-kick from the right beat everybody and looked to be the opener.
But Saiss was offside and surely interfered with play as he went for a header but narrowly missed the ball.
VAR called Cesar Ramos over to confirm he felt that Saiss was interfering, and the goal was chalked off.
Half time! Belgium 0-0 Morocco
13:49 , Marc Mayo
The Atlas Lions are denied a vital goal.
13:46 , Marc Mayo
45 mins: Ziyech’s ball in... IT BEATS EVERYBODY!
But we go to VAR... DISALLOWED. Saiss was offside and interfered with play.
13:45 , Marc Mayo
45 mins: Ziyech wins a free-kick in a dangerous spot after beating Thorgan Hazard as we start one minute of injury time.
13:44 , Marc Mayo
43 mins: As we’ve found ourselves many times at this World Cup, we are drifting towards the break goalless.
Not much sign of a goal before the break either, Belgium holding the ball.
13:39 , Marc Mayo
39 mins: De Bruyne goes for it himself at a wide free-kick on the left, landing a powerful effort on the roof of the net.
13:39 , Marc Mayo
38 mins: Belgium just slipping into the same slack routine that featured so much against Canada.
Still, with their talent they’re never too far away from threatening for an opener...
13:35 , Marc Mayo
35 mins: Hakimi bombs into the box and goes with a lash at goal... over the bar!
A good, quick attack from the Atlas Lions.
13:33 , Marc Mayo
33 mins: A decent left-to-right move from Belgium and Meunier rolls in a good low cross that Munir gathers.
Numbers were in the box, including Batshuayi and both Hazards, although none had gambled with the near-post run.
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31 mins: Scrappy spell as both teams pass up the chance to play forward balls before Eden Hazard takes a painful one on the knee from Amallah.
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28 mins: Meunier gets caught out from a ball over the top and Boufal chips it to the far post.
A smart knockdown from Hakimi is lashed over by Amallah.
Better from Morocco, who win a foul off Onana as he goes in too strong at an aerial duel to earn a booking. That rules him out of the Croatia game.
The free-kick comes to nothing.
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26 mins: Onana sends an overhit through ball into touch and that early Belgian pressure has just subsided somewhat.
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23 mins: Courtois produces a tidy Cruyff turn to send En-Nesyri for an ice cream, then dallies too long on the ball and the striker nearly catches the goalkeeper out as he returns from his snack with another challenge!
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20 mins: Ziyech thinks, ‘Why not?’ as he lets fly on his left foot about 30 yards out.
It’s not a bad hit but Courtois is comfortable as it soars a yard over the bar.
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18 mins: Far more whistles than chants from the large Moroccan support in Doha, as Belgium continue to dominate possession.
The Red Devils looking good, so far. Meunier appears high up the pitch and places an effort straight at Munir.
13:15 , Marc Mayo
15 mins: Belgium turning up the heat as Thorgan Hazard wins a foul off Amrabat in another threatening position, this time on the left wing.
A short routine sees the ball laid back to De Bruyne, who hits a low shot into the crowd for a corner. Onana heads over.
13:13 , Marc Mayo
13 mins: For the record, Munir is in goal for Morocco instead of Bono as initially announced by the team. No reason given by the north Africans, presumably an injury.
13:12 , Marc Mayo
11 mins: Gentler build-up from Belgium leads to De Bruyne winning a foul off Saiss.
A decent spot, just to the right of the box and level with the 18-yard line.
De Bruyne floats it Onana’s way but Morocco clear.
13:08 , Marc Mayo
7 mins: A lively start. Both teams look to have good intent and the quality to create a threat on goal.
For those who joined us earlier for Japan against Costa Rica, that will be a relief!
13:06 , Marc Mayo
5 mins: Morocco lob some early crosses into the box and it’s hard not to get caught up in the rise in volume as Belgium manage to clear their lines.
Forward come the Red Devils and Batshuayi is played in behind... saved by Bono!
13:04 , Marc Mayo
3 mins: De Bruyne catches En-Nesyri with an accidental elbow and the striker will need a moment to shake that off, but can carry on.
13:01 , Marc Mayo
1 min: Early pressure from Morocco, both on and off the pitch as their fans whistle any Belgian possession.
Ziyech gets down the right but his cross is too close to Courtois for En-Nesyri to trouble.
13:00 , Marc Mayo
Mexican referee Cesar Ramos blows his whistle and we are underway in Doha!
Time for the national anthems
12:55 , Marc Mayo
Morocco fans are hear in big numbers and they belt out ‘The Cherifian Anthem’ with gusto.
A great shot of Hakim Ziyech, his eyes closed as he breathes in the moment, on the cameras as a fantastic delivery of that anthem plays out.
Here come the players!
12:53 , Marc Mayo
Al Thumama Stadium is filling nicely as the two teams emerge to a raucous atmosphere!
How Group F looks ahead of the game
12:51 , Marc Mayo
Belgium lead on three points with Croatia and Morocco on a single point, before Canada on zero.
The Croats and Canucks go head-to-head at 4pm.
This group is paired with Group E in the last-16, with the runners-up handed the winner of Japan, Germany or Spain...
Another award for KDB today?
12:47 , Marc Mayo
Kevin De Bruyne won the man of the match award in Belgium’s last game - not that he wanted to!
“No, I don’t think I played a great game,” he said after collecting the gong for the 1-0 win over Canada.
“I don’t know why I got the trophy — maybe it’s because of my name.”
A unique game for Belgium
12:44 , Marc Mayo
Morocco’s four dual nationals are not alone with hundreds of thousands of fans back in Belgium holding split allegiances at this World Cup.
Around half a million people of Moroccan descent live in Belgium, the largest non-European group in the country.
Morocco out to break long duck
12:40 , Marc Mayo
Not since 1998 and a 3-0 beating of Scotland have the Atlas Lions won a World Cup game.
This is only the second occasion they have qualified since then, as they picked up only a single point in Russia four years ago.
How far can Belgium go?
12:34 , Marc Mayo
The Red Devils have won their last eight World Cup group games.
In 2014 it was the quarter-finals where their run ended and four years ago the semis. Will they feature in Doha on December 18 this year?
The atmosphere is building in Doha
12:29 , Marc Mayo
Kick-off in just half an hour!
Countdown to kick-off
12:25 , Marc Mayo
This Morocco World Cup promo clip is enough to get any fan’s blood pumping for the World Cup!
12:24 , Giuseppe Muro
Belgium can set a World Cup record today.
The Red Devils have won their last eight World Cup group-stage matches to equal the tournament record achieved by Brazil on two occasions (1986-1994 and 2002-2010).
12:19 , Giuseppe Muro
The last time these two nations met was back in 2008, when Morocco ran out 4-1 winners in a friendly.
Their only World Cup meeting was at USA 1994. Belgium won 1-0 in a group-stage match. That year the Belgians went out at the group stage on six points but win today and they should secure progress to the knockout stage.
12:08 , Giuseppe Muro
Morocco are tied with Croatia on one point, with Belgium the leaders on three points and Canada bottom with zero.
Morocco boss Walid Regragui, who took over Morocco in September after Vahid Halilhodzic was sacked, has said his the team are eager to pull off a surprise against giants Belgium as they look to come out of Group F, which he described as “the group of death”.
“Belgium are favourites, they have outstanding players and an excellent coach,” he said. “They have great players even on the bench. They have experience... it will be a tough game.”
11:57 , Giuseppe Muro
Belgium drew criticism for their poor display against Canada, which was well below the standard they have set in recent years.
But Martinez says they, like other teams in the competition, will improve having not had their usual preparation for a major finals.
“We arrived at the first game with five (training sessions) and that means the team is not ready,” he said. “We have seen teams start really well (in matches) but then they could not manage the game.
“You will see teams being ready only after three games. They are having to get ready while they are in the tournament and that is dangerous because it can cost you points.”
11:50 , Giuseppe Muro
Romelu Lukaku is on the bench for Belgium.
The striker, who is his country’s all-time top goalscorer, missed the opening win over Canada with a thigh injury, and has played just 29 minutes of competitive football since August.
Roberto Martinez has said Lukaku is not far away from being available but the Morocco clash has come too soon to start.
Morocco are without Bayern Munich left-back Noussair Mazraoui after he was forced off against Croatia with a hip injury, having landed awkwardly. Yahya Attiat-Allah who comes into the side.
Abdessamad Ezzalzoul misses out with a hamstring injury. West Ham defender Nayef Aguerd starts for Morocco.
Confirmed team news
11:45 , Giuseppe Muro
Belgium XI: Courtois; Castagne, Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Meunier; Witsel, Onana; T. Hazard, De Bruyne, E. Hazard, Batshuayi.
Subs: Theate, Faes, Tielemans, Lukaku, Carrasco, Mignolet, Casteels, Mertens, Trossard, Dendoncker, Vanaken, De Ketelaere, Openda, Doku, Debast
Morocco XI: Bounou; Mazraoui, Aguerd, Saiss, Hakimi; Amrabat, Ounahi, Amallah, Ziyech, Boufal; En-Nesyri.
Subs: Hamdallah, Zaroury, Sabiri, Mohamedi, Chair, Aboukhlal, Ezzalzouli, El Yamiq, Dari, Cheddira, Tagnaouti, El Khannouss, Benoun, Attiat-Allah, Jabrane
11:39 , Giuseppe Muro
Morocco have four Belgium-born players in their squad and head coach Walid Regragui has warned them not to get emotional on what he says will be a “special” occasion for them.
Midfielder Selim Amallah and forward Ilias Chair were born in Belgium, while midfielder Bilal El Khannouss and winger Anass Zaroury both played for Belgium at the youth level before switching to Morocco.
“For any dual national... they have a special emotion and that's a positive energy and you have to draw on that,” Regragui said.
“But it is a match that we need to win (irrespective) of who we are playing. We have to focus on that.
“We know that this is a special match for them, but we have to put that into context. You cannot get too emotional because that could lead you to make mistakes. And that could be very expensive for us.”
Martinez: ‘No issue’ between Alderweireld and De Bruyne
11:32 , Giuseppe Muro
Toby Alderweireld and Kevin De Bruyne were seen in a heated argument around when to play long balls during Belgium's lacklustre 1-0 opening win over Canada.
But, speaking ahead of today’s game, manager Roberto Martinez has played down the row and insists there is no rift between the two.
“We should not try to create an issue where there is not one,” he said.
“You have two experienced players that have played over 70 games together for the national team. They are both winners and they really want to perform well.”
Get pumped for the Moroccan national anthem
11:28 , Marc Mayo
They are certainly one of the better-represented teams out in Qatar!
Will we see Lukaku today?
11:20 , Marc Mayo
Roberto Martinez has provided a fresh update on Romelu Lukaku’s fitness ahead of today’s game.
“Medically Romelu was only available for the third game, but he's ahead of where he should be and the signs are very good,” he said.
“I don't expect him to be involved on Sunday unless something very good happens today [Saturday].”
Team news coming up soon!
11:14 , Marc Mayo
A Marc Degryse goal was enough to separate the sides in the 1994 World Cup group stages, their only previous competitive meeting.
Belgium wins: 2
Morocco wins: 1
11:09 , Marc Mayo
Belgium win: 19/20
Morocco win: 3/1
Evening Standard score prediction
11:05 , Marc Mayo
There was plenty for Martinez to be concerned about in that opening match for Belgium, their defence in particularly looking extremely vulnerable to pace.
Morocco are unlikely to be able to offer the same threat that Canada did, with Belgium having enough quality in forward areas to edge another tight encounter.
Belgium to win, 1-0.
11:00 , Marc Mayo
Predicted Morocco XI (4-2-3-1): Bounou; Hakimi, Saiss, Aguerd, Attiat-Allah; Amrabat, Ounahi; Ziyech, Amallah, Boufal; En-Nesyri
Morocco team news
10:52 , Marc Mayo
Noussair Mazraoui (hip) and Abdessamad Ezzalzoul (hamstring) are set to miss out for Morocco.
Hakim Ziyech should continue his starring role in attack.
10:47 , Marc Mayo
Predicted Belgium XI (3-4-2-1): Courtois; Dendoncker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Meunier, Tielemans, Witsel, Castagne; De Bruyne, Hazard; Batshuayi
Belgium team news
10:42 , Marc Mayo
The key injury concern for Belgium is Romelu Lukaku.
Amadou Onana and Thomas Meunier are pushing to start after impressing off the bench against Canada.
How to watch
10:36 , Marc Mayo
TV channel: In the UK, the match will be televised free-to-air and live on BBC One, with coverage beginning at 12.30pm GMT ahead of a 1pm kick-off.
Live stream: The BBC iPlayer will broadcast the match live online.
Hello and welcome!
07:38 , Marc Mayo
Today’s World Cup action has already kicked off and here we bring you Belgium vs Morocco.
An encouraging start for both teams will be tested in a 1pm kick-off.
Al Thumama Stadium hosts this clash and keep it Standard Sport for all the build-up, match action and reaction!