Hakimi’s ‘Panenka’ penalty advances Morocco at World Cup

Dec 5, 2022, 10:25 PM | Updated: Dec 6, 2022, 1:51 pm
Spain's goalkeeper Unai Simon looks round after Morocco's Achraf Hakimi scored the winning penalty ...

Spain's goalkeeper Unai Simon looks round after Morocco's Achraf Hakimi scored the winning penalty during a shootout after the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Morocco and Spain, at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

(AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

              Morocco's goalkeeper Yassine Bounou saves a penalty kick during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Morocco and Spain, at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
            
              Soccer fans supporting Morocco cheer prior to the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Morocco and Spain, at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
            
              Morocco's goalkeeper Yassine Bounou stops a penalty shot by Spain's Sergio Busquets during a penalty shootout of the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Morocco and Spain, at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
            
              Morocco's Achraf Hakimi, left, celebrates with teammates after scoring the winning penalty in a shootout at the end of the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Morocco and Spain, at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
            
              Spain's goalkeeper Unai Simon, left, fails to save the last shoot by Morocco's Achraf Hakimi at the penalties shoot out at the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Morocco and Spain, at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
            
              Morocco's Achraf Hakimi celebrates his team victory at the end of the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Morocco and Spain, at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
            
              Morocco's Achraf Hakimi celebrates after scoring the wining penalty during the penalties shootouts World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Morocco and Spain, at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
            
              Spain's goalkeeper Unai Simon looks round after Morocco's Achraf Hakimi scored the winning penalty during a shootout after the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Morocco and Spain, at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

AL RAYYAN, Qatar (AP) — The sheer audacity. The simple execution. And then … delirium.

Achraf Hakimi converted the decisive spot kick for Morocco with a little dink of a shot known as a “Panenka” in a penalty shootout win over Spain to make his team the first Arab country ever to reach the World Cup quarterfinals Tuesday.

Instead of using his full force to strike the ball, Hakimi instead waited for Spain goalkeeper Unai Simón to lunge to his right before lightly pushing the ball into the center of the goal.

“If you’re brave enough to do it, then you can do it,” Morocco midfielder Azzedine Ounahi said. “It doesn’t matter how the ball goes in.”

After watching the ball sail in uncontested, Hakimi performed a little celebratory dance and then added to the playful theme by faking out his onrushing teammates in terms of which area of the field he was going to run to for more celebrations.

Eventually the team caught up to Hakimi and mobbed him.

The penalty kick technique that Hakimi employed is named for Czech player Antonín Panenka, who introduced it to an international audience during the 1976 European Championship final.

Hakimi, who plays for Paris Saint-Germain and is considered Morocco’s most talented player, was born in Madrid to Moroccan parents and spent 10 years in Real Madrid’s youth system. His mom cleaned houses in the Spanish capital and his dad was a street vendor.

“He’s fast, he’s skillful. He gives assists, he scores goals. A panenka in the penalty shootout,” Ounahi said. “So he does everything. (And) he’s a team player.”

Hakimi is one of 14 members of Morocco’s 26-man squad who was born abroad.

Goalkeeper Yassine Bounou, who was born in Canada and plays for Sevilla in Spain, saved two of Spain’s penalties during the shootout, which Morocco won 3-0 following a 0-0 draw after extra time.

Morocco’s quarterfinal opponent on Saturday will be Portugal.

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Andrew Dampf is at https://twitter.com/AndrewDampf

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AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Hakimi’s ‘Panenka’ penalty advances Morocco at World Cup