Thursday, March 30, 2023

Qatar 2022: Morocco beats Portugal 1-0 within the FIFA World Cup quarterfinal to march into first-ever semis

Morocco’s extraordinary run in Qatar continued on Saturday because it claimed one other large scalp in beating Portugal 1-0 to turn into the primary African and Arab nation to achieve the World Cup semi-finals.

A vastly vital victory broke new floor for the sport exterior of Europe and South America, who’ve been the dominant power within the sport, profitable all 21 earlier editions of the World Cup.

The consequence may additionally go a great distance in the direction of vindicating the controversial choice to host the match within the Center East.

Youssef En-Nesyri’s forty second minute purpose on the Al-Thumama Stadium means Morocco is simply the third nation exterior of Europe and Latin America to achieve the final 4, after the U.S. on the first World Cup in 1930 and South Korea, co-host when it obtained to the semis 20 years in the past.

It’s a consequence with main significance for the world recreation, offering proof that the hole between the highest groups and the remainder is closing and handing new hope to many international locations who may need felt World Cup success was past them.

“I told my players before the match we had to write history for Africa,” stated Morocco coach Walid Regragui, who solely took cost of the staff three months earlier than the match.

Saturday’s victory for Morocco comes on high of its win over second-ranked Belgium within the group section and penalty shootout success towards Spain within the final 16.

However towards Portugal, regardless of its pre-match protestations about fatigue, it was extra formidable. It appeared for counter assault alternatives whereas absorbing the strain with resolute defence.

It has conceded just one purpose in its 5 video games on the match, maintaining at bay a few of the match’s high names.

Portugal had its probabilities however not sufficient to panic the Moroccan backline, which was with out the injured Nayef Aguerd and misplaced skipper Romain Saiss to a thigh harm after halftime.

On a regular basis Morocco waited to burst ahead on the counter and left again Yahia Attiyat-Allah, beginning his first recreation of the match, led the efforts with a number of surging runs down the flank.


He presumably didn’t need to cross with as a lot peak as he did within the forty second minute however En-Nesyri proved equal to the problem with a towering header as he outjumped each goalkeeper Diogo Costa and defender Ruben Dias handy Morocco the lead.

There have been probabilities for a second as Jawad El Yamiq got here shut with a header from a setpiece after halftime and late substitute Zakaria Aboukhlal fluffed an opportunity when he was one-on-one with the goalkeeper on the finish of the sport.

“It’s really unbelievable, I’m so proud. It’s like a dream, unbelievable we’re in the semi-final,” stated midfielder Sofyan Amrabat, one of many heroes of their surprising run to the final 4, the place they may face both England or France.

“We deserve this, 1000%. How we fight, how we play, with our heart for our country, for the people – it’s unbelievable. Our spirit, we have injuries, three defenders came in and how they defended, big respect.”

Morocco’s victory set off jubilant celebrations all through the area and are available as a lift to Qatar, whose selection because the host was dogged by controversy however it may possibly now wallow within the success of an Arab nation.

Portugal had been runaway favourites on Saturday and can take into account the defeat as a missed alternative.

“It was a difficult game against a very aggressive team, very competitive as we had already seen throughout the tournament and against Spain,” stated midfielder Bernardo Silva.

“Morocco has a lot of merit, Morocco eliminated Belgium, Spain and now Portugal, so it’s a selection with a lot of value and the names don’t matter.”

The match marked a potential finish to Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal profession, with the striker diminished to tears as he walked down the tunnel on the finish of the sport.

His 196th worldwide look as a second-half substitute gave Portugal a brief elevate. However there could be no be no fairytale ending for the 37-year-old.

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