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GOAL Landmarks: Yassine Bounou - The immovable force behind Morocco’s impressive defence

14:06 GMT+4 13/12/2022
Yassine Bounou Morocco 2022

Morocco have scripted the most fascinating story of the 2022 World Cup, given their stunning run to the Semi-Finals. The footballing dark horses have shocked several World Cup favourites including Spain and Portugal on their way to the last 4 in Qatar.

The 'underdog' story has captured the hearts of most footbaling fans who are waiting to see whether they can pull off another upset against France on December 14th.

Morocco have a few high-profile players in Hakim Ziyech and Achraf Hakimi and they have delivered exceptionally well for the North African side. But the true brilliance of their run has been the sturdiness with which they have defended throughout the World Cup.

And the key man behind Morocco’s impenetrable defence is goalkeeper Yassine Bounou. The Sevilla goalkeeper has started 4 out of his team’s 5 World Cup games so far and more importantly, kept a clean sheet in 3 of those games.

Bounou was particularly impressive in Morocco’s Round of 16 match against Spain, pulling off several saves throughout 120 minutes to keep the Spanish attack at bay. The 31-year-old then proceeded to save two Spanish penalties in the shootout to propel his team into the final 8 of the World Cup.

The last of those clean sheets came against a free scoring Portuguese team in the Quarter-finals that ended Cristiano Ronaldo’s World Cup dreams. It was a significant landmark for Bounou who became the first-ever African goalkeeper to keep 3 clean sheets in a World Cup campaign.

In fact, the only player to have scored past Bounou in this World Cup was his own teammate Nayef Aguerd who scored an own goal in their 2-1 win over Canada in the group stages.

Bounou was named man of the match in their two knockout stage matches - against Spain and Portugal. Morocco will hope Bounou, their last line of defence, continues his landmark form into the Semi-finals against France as well.

For who knows, Bounou might just help Morocco shock the world and make it into the World Cup final. The World is His to Take!