Morocco pulled another surprise at the World Cup in Qatar by defeating Portugal 1-0 on Saturday. It becomes the first African nation to appear in the semifinals of the top football competition in the world.
After overcoming Spain in the last round, the African nation dreams of the possibility of appearing in a World Cup Final, if it overcomes the winner of the England-France game to be played later on Saturday.
The goal in an entertaining first half where both teams enjoyed spells of good possession and created several chances was scored on the 42′ by En-Nesyri.
Morroco stood up to intense Portuguese pressure in the second half. Christiano Ronaldo who was left on the bench in the first half gave Portugal a cutting edge in attack that was lacking until then. However, Morocco withstood the constant attacks and celebrated a famous victory.
Ronaldo walked straight off the pitch on his own at the final whistle, and was in tears as he went down the tunnel. His World Cup dream is over.
— Maria Tadeo (@mariatad) December 10, 2022
Morocco bears the hopes of the African continent in the World Cup
Morocco are now bearing the hopes of a continent and battling the weight of history: No African side has ever made it beyond this stage of a World Cup.
There were jubilant scenes in Qatar, Morocco, across the Arab world, in Europe and in Africa after Morocco beat fancied Spain on penalties to reach the quarter-finals.
Morocco, who reached the round of 16 at the 1986 World Cup, are the only team from outside Europe or South America to make it to this stage in Qatar.
The Atlas Lions are already at their best performance in World Cup history. They have competed in the World Cup finals on six occasions, but their best performance was in the round of sixteen in 1986, when they became the first African country to top a World Cup group. This was a feat they once again achieved in 2022.
Portugal have competed in the World Cup seven times, and their best performance was attaining a third place in 1966.
The current Portuguese team has widely received praise from pundits as “the start of the golden generation” with young players like Joao Felix, Diogo Costa, Gonçalo Ramos, Rafael Leao, Nuno Mendes, Ruben Dias, Diogo Dalot, and Vitinha among others.
The young talents have emerged at a time when their most capped player and all-time top goal scorer, Cristiano Ronaldo, is nearing the end of his career.
However, they are now on their way home.
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