The first 45 minutes of Tuesday’s round-of-16 game went mostly like this: Spain’s collection of ball-control wizards would pass the ball around, their path impeded by a bunch of packed-in Moroccan defenders wearing red. The possession inevitably would peter out before any true chance was taken, and a few minutes later, the sequence would repeat itself.
The result was a 0-0 draw between the powerhouse from Europe and its determined neighbor from North Africa.
Morocco had a few chances, the best coming late in the half when Nayef Aguerd’s header went over the crossbar. But otherwise, Spain spent the first half prodding the Moroccans, searching in vain for a hole in the defense with 69 percent of the possession. But none of La Roja’s shots were on target.