FIFA World Cup 2022, Morocco vs. Portugal: After defeating Portugal 1-0 on Saturday, Morocco became the first African team to ever advance to the World Cup semifinals.
With a historic victory thanks to Youssef En-Nesyri’s first-half header, Morocco will face either the defending champions France or England in the championship game. The three other African teams to advance to the quarterfinals before Morocco were Cameroon in 1990, Senegal in 2002, and Ghana in 2010.
Cristiano Ronaldo, the best player, and captain of Portugal started the game on the bench for the second time in a row. He entered the game in the second half when Portugal fell behind, but he wasn’t enough to give Portugal the boost they required to pull off a comeback victory.
Morocco has won in 1986 and 2022, giving them a 2-1 all-time World Cup record against each other.
Portugal had several opportunities in the final minutes, but they were unable to overcome Morocco’s tough defense. Morocco wins, and Portugal feels heartbreak.
Portugal has only ever reached the quarterfinal stage three times but given that they were granted what was considered to be a “favorable” draw, they will feel they wasted a chance to advance.
When the final whistle blew, Ronaldo was among the first players off the field. He was captured on camera walking into the dressing room while in tears.
Ronaldo has scored 118 goals in 196 appearances for Portugal, but it is still unclear if this will be his final match for the nation. The contract with United was terminated last month after he gave an explosive interview to Piers Morgan in which he attacked key members of the club’s executive. He is currently without a club.
About Morocco, Morocco sat back and allowed Portugal to have plenty of the ball after the header of Youssef En-Nesyri. But Bruno Fernandes hit the bar, smashed another over and both Joao Felix and Cristiano Ronaldo (who came off the bench) were denied by the brilliant Yassine Bounou in goal for Morocco. Pepe also missed his good chance in last minutes.
Substitute Walid Cheddira was dismissed late on for two yellow cards, but Morocco held on amid incredible scenes. Morocco’s fans have gone wild at the final whistle at the Al Thumama Stadium as they have now defeated Spain in the last 16 and Portugal in the quarterfinals.
Watch the highlights from the match between Morocco and Portugal here.