Spain's World Cup team practiced 1,000 penalties but failed to score a single one when it mattered most

Spain's World Cup team practiced 1,000 penalties but failed to score a single one when it mattered most
Sergio Busquets watches as Yassine Bounou saves his penalty kick.
Sergio Busquets watches as Yassine Bounou saves his penalty kick.Photo by Getty Images
  • Morocco stunned Spain with a FIFA World Cup victory Tuesday to proceed to the quarterfinals.

  • The result was a shocker, as Spain was a pre-tournament favorite.

  • Spain even practiced 1,000 penalties but failed to score a single one when it mattered most.

Spain boss Luis Enrique said the national soccer team practiced 1,000 penalties in anticipation of the ongoing 2022 FIFA World Cup, however, they failed to score a single spot-kick when it mattered most.

Spain played Morocco in a Round of 16 match Tuesday at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar, and according to bookmakers, were the favorites to proceed to the quarterfinal stage.

Due to the exploits of Sofyan Amrabat, who troubled Spain with his physicality, Achraf Hakimi, whose defensive game was on-point throughout the contest, and goalkeeper Yassine Bounou who kept a clean sheet, Morocco dragged the game into extra time.

Even in the penalty shootout, Spain would have fancied its chances.

A shootout is 'a moment of maximum tension,' Spain's manager said

"Over a year ago, in one of the Spain camps, I told them they had to get here with at least 1,000 penalties taken," Spain boss Enrique told reporters recently, according to Goal.

Luis Enrique.
Luis Enrique.Photo by Getty Images

"If you wait until getting here to practice penalties," then it won't be enough, Enrique added.

"It's a moment of maximum tension, a time to show your nerve and that you can shoot the penalty in the way you have decided if you have trained it a thousand times.

"It says a lot about each player," the 52-year-old tactician said. "It's trainable, manageable, how you manage the tension. It's increasingly less luck - the goalkeepers have more influence.

"We have a very good goalkeeper; any of the three can do very well in this situation. Every time we finish training, I see a lot of players taking penalties."

But all that practice was for nothing

Despite the hours Spain's team put into its shootout rehearsals, it all counted for nothing as Morocco dumped them out of the tournament for good.

Spain-Morocco penalty shootout.
Spain-Morocco penalty shootout.Photo by Getty Images

Abdelhamid Sabiri, Hakim Ziyech, and Achraf Hakimi scored their penalties for Morocco.

Meanwhile, Pablo Sarabia, Carlos Soler, and Sergio Busquets either missed their shots or had them saved by Morocco's keeper Bounou.

The victory was huge for Morocco as it eliminated one of the tournament favorites while earning a significant win for its country and African soccer in general.

It now plays Portugal on Saturday with a place in the semifinal at stake.

The World Cup final concludes on December 18.

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