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World Cup Notebook

Achraf Hakimi’s ‘Panenka’ penalty helps Morocco to another huge World Cup upset, eliminates Spain

Achraf Hakimi (2) sent Morocco into the World Cup quarterfinals with an audacious chipped penalty kick.JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

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 chipping 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.”

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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.

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Ronaldo dropped, Ramos scores 3 for Portugal at World Cup

A chant of “RONALDO! RONALDO!” swept around the biggest stadium at the World Cup, followed by loud jeers when the fans realized their idol wasn’t coming onto the field.

Cristiano Ronaldo was, in fact, sitting in the dugout, looking glum and still wearing a substitute’s bib. And the guy who started instead of him was about to complete a hat trick.

After Ronaldo was dropped from the starting lineup in a bold call by Portugal coach Fernando Santos, Goncalo Ramos — the superstar striker’s unlikely replacement — made himself an instant star by leading the team to a 6-1 win over Switzerland and into the World Cup quarterfinals.

Ramos, a 21-year-old forward who only made his Portugal debut last month, demonstrated the kind of clinical finishing Ronaldo was once known for in scoring the first goal in the 17th minute and adding others in the 51st and 67th.

“Not even in my wildest dreams did I think about being part of the starting team for the knockout stage,” said Ramos, who counts Ronaldo along with Robert Lewandowski and Zlatan Ibrahimovic as his soccer idols.

It was around the hour mark that fans around the 89,000-seat Lusail Stadium started to implore Santos to bring on the 37-year-old Ronaldo, and they got their wish in the 72nd minute. Portugal had the game wrapped up by then, with defenders Pepe and Raphael Guerreiro also having scored. Rafael Leao added another goal in stoppage time.

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After briefly celebrating with his teammates following the final whistle, Ronaldo walked off the field on his own — perhaps wondering where his career goes from here. He is currently without a club after leaving Manchester United midway through the World Cup and he might no longer be the starter for his country.