06.12.2022 20:39 h

Penalty heroics partly down to 'luck'

Morocco's Yassine Bounou put his World Cup penalty-saving heroics against Spain on Tuesday down to a mixture of luck and intuition.

The Sevilla stopper saved two of Spain's penalties in the 3-0 shootout triumph as his side reached the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time in their history.

The match had finished goalless after extra-time.

"You know penalties, it's a little bit of intuition, a little bit of luck," Bounou told beIN Sports.

"We won, that's the most important thing. Hats off to the whole team, they did the job, it was incredible.

"It's not easy to stay focused for 120 minutes, against a Spanish team that dominates the ball well, who has possession.

"When you live moments like this, sometimes it's hard to realise it. We will try to avoid the noise around us, stay focused on ourselves, on our job, our recovery."

Morocco, the last African side and only remaining Arab team left in the tournament, will face Portugal or Switzerland in the quarter-finals in Qatar.

"I'm so happy for the team -- they did a great job all through the game," said Bounou.

"We understood (how to play) the game from the start, so I'm so happy for this win."

Morocco fans packed Education City Stadium and vastly outnumbered Spain supporters, creating an intimidating and impressive atmosphere.

Bounou was also grateful for the support from home.

"We felt the support of our fans in Morocco and elsewhere, and that gave us momentum in the stadium," the goalkeeper told reporters.

"On behalf of all the players, I want to thank the fans who helped us in this task.

"I congratulate all the players and I offer this gift to all the Moroccan people."