Morocco were expected to make an early Women's World Cup exit and be content making up the numbers, but in a tournament of surprises the 72nd-ranked team went from a 6-0 thrashing by Germany to taking the former champions' expected spot in the round of 16.
The debutants bounced back from their mauling with a 1-0 win over South Korea and, in dramatic fashion in Perth on Thursday, followed up with an identical scoreline to upset Group H winners Colombia.
To join the South American team in the knockouts, Morocco needed to win and hope the highly fancied Germans did not beat 17th-ranked South Korea in Brisbane. Germany were held to a draw that saw them exit the tournament 17 days before the final.
"At the end of our game, we all came together with the staff in the middle of the pitch, we had the phone and we started praying," said midfielder Anissa Lahmari, who scored the close-range winner against Colombia just before halftime.
"We were praying, waiting for the result to come out of the Germany and Korea game. It was a (1-1) draw and afterwards it was a complete explosion of joy."
The stunning upsets sent Germany packing with a solitary win and gave the Atlas Lionesses another chance to continue their fairytale run when they face France, ranked five, in Adelaide on Tuesday.
"It's going to be a very difficult game to play, but if we keep the same mindset as we had today we can be hopeful that we can go further," Morocco coach Reynald Pedros told a press conference.
"I was very pleased because the players understood tonight they can play the best players in the world. I really hope that this will be the trigger for the whole adventure."
Morocco never let Colombia get a strong foothold in the game, defending well in the first half before Lahmari netted following a goalmouth scramble after captain Ghizlane Chebbak's penalty was saved.
Las Cafeteras grew into the match after the break but the North African nation held firm, ensuring they will join fellow African teams Nigeria and South Africa, who knocked out 2019 quarter-finalists Italy, in the knockout stages.
"What we saw tonight technically, physically, tactically, it's what we've been working on for the last three years," Pedros said.
"This is a showcase for the women's game, for the Moroccans back home and this is such a beautiful display that we're putting on here."
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