Praise for Iran & Morocco as underdogs depart World Cup with heads held high

25 Jun, 2018 21:07
Praise for Iran & Morocco as underdogs depart World Cup with heads held high
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Ricardo Moraes, Fabrizio Bensch / Reuters

Iran and Morocco have departed the World Cup to a chorus of praise after they produced thrilling performances to take heavyweights Portugal and Spain to the wire in the final round of Group B games.

Both Iran and Morocco played a full part in a sensational climax to Group B before settling for draws in their respective games against Portugal and Spain. 

READ MORE: Spain set up last 16 clash with Russia after grabbing late draw against eliminated Morocco

Morocco already knew they were eliminated going into their final game against Spain in Kaliningrad, but that did not stop them from producing a thrilling display that saw them set for victory until Iago Aspas scored an injury time equalizer.

The plaudits poured in for a team that departed Russia with 1 point from three games but with praise ringing in their ears for a brave display of attacking verve.

Iran faced Portugal in Saransk and ran Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. mightily close after coming from  behind to equalize and almost snatching a dramatic win that would have seen them qualify for the last 16, before ultimately having to settle for 1-1.

READ MORE: Portugal 1-1 Iran: Late penalty snatches 1st place from Ronaldo in dramatic climax

Iranians and fans of the team showed their pride on social media after the game.

Both Iran and Morocco played with a vigor that belied their underdog status against their more fancied opponents, and many felt they even bettered their European rivals with the football they showed.   

Spain topped the group thanks to their draw, setting up a last 16 tie against hosts Russia on July 1 in Moscow, while Portugal’s draw means they face Group A winners Uruguay in Sochi on June 30.