Morocco and former Wolves defender Romain Saiss are into the knockout stages of the World Cup after they beat Canada 2-1 today.
Walid Regragui’s side have gone through as group winners, with Croatia and Belgium playing out 0-0 draw in the other game.
They are the first ever African nation to top their group at a World Cup finals. And they are the second African team through to the knockouts this year after Senegal.
It’s Croatia who join Morocco in going through.
Hakim Ziyech got the ball rolling for Morocco, and then Sevilla striker Youssef En-Nesyri – a player Julen Lopetegui might want to take a look at it January – doubled the lead on 23 minutes.
An own goal from West Ham United’s Nayef Aguerd just before half-time brought Canada back into the contest.
But Morocco resisted Canadian pressure in the second-half with some solid defending to book their place in the last 16.
It was another really good display from Saiss at the back for Morocco.
The 32-year-old, now of Besiktas, made four clearances in the game (Sofascore) and just generally kept things nice and tight for Morocco in the face of big threats like Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David.
It follows two other really strong performances from Saiss in Qatar.
In his last game against Belgium, the former Molineux man was a colossus, making 12 clearances which was the joint-most of any player in any game in the tournament.
Romain Saiss’ form at the World Cup will have people asking questions of Wolves
Saiss has given an absolutely brilliant account of himself so far in Qatar.
And Morocco are look really strong as a collective. There are no expectations of them in this tournament, and that appears to be serving them well so far. It would be good to see them cause some upsets and go further.
There is a nice blend of talented attacking players with flair, and solid defenders like Saiss. They also have a real player in the midfield in the form of Sofyan Amrabat.
Saiss left Wolves in the summer after an agreement between the club and player could not be reached.
On the evidence of his showings at the World Cup so far, Wanderers have made a really questionable decision letting him go.