ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA — Morocco made history in multiple ways during its 1-0 victory over South Korea in the Women’s World Cup on Sunday.
Defender Nouhaila Benzina became the first player to wear a Hijab in a World Cup game at the senior level, and her teammate Ibtissam Jraïdi scored the Atlas Lionesses’ first World Cup goal. The Moroccans scored in the 6th minute and were able to make it stand up for the remainder of the match.
After a lopsided 6-0 loss against Germany, the victory keeps No. 72-ranked Morocco in contention to advance to the knockout stage of the tournament.
Morocco scored its first ever World Cup goal in the sixth minute when Ibtissam Jraïdi met a cross from Hanane Aït El Haj with a glancing header toward the far post.
South Korea had the majority of the possession but was unable to translate the advantage into many scoring opportunities. Its best chance at equalizing came in the 87th minute when 16-year-old New Jersey resident Casey Phair pushed a shot just wide of the post. Phair, the youngest player to appear at a World Cup, went on as a late substitute.
Why it matters
After dropping its opening match 6-0 to Germany, Morocco’s victory temporarily moves it level with Germany and Colombia on three points ahead of the matchup later Sunday between those teams in Sydney. Morocco becomes the first Arab Nation ever to win a game at a Women’s World Cup and remains in contention to advance to the round of 16.
South Korea is all but eliminated from the tournament after its second loss of the tournament.
Morocco will take on Colombia on the final day of the group stage Thursday in Perth in a match that may decide which of the two teams advances to the round of 16. South Korea will play Germany in Brisbane. The two matches will kick off simultaneously.