Youssef An-Nesri scored the only goal in a dramatic 1–0 win at Al Thumama and denied Portugal a place in the last four for the first time in 16 years.
Morocco, which had substituted Walid Chedira sent off late, set up a semi-final against both France either england on Wednesday at the Al-Bait Stadium, where they will again be supported by a rabid crowd who booed them off Portugal.
1. Morocco created history by shocking Portugal
Morocco caused a major blow to African and Arab football by becoming the first team to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup. Drawn in a group with Belgium and Croatia, and having changed their coach a few months before the tournament, they were only expected to take part in the round of 16, but what they have achieved in Qatar has been nothing short of remarkable. Is.
Their shock victory at Al Thumama – just days after shocking Spain in the second round – was played out amid an ear-splitting atmosphere every time Portugal had the ball. And they had plenty of it – touching 80% possession at various points in the game – but Morocco defended well and made the most of their chances to break early, especially in the first half.
En-Nesri’s header just before half-time was assisted by a mistake by Portugal goalkeeper Diogo Costa, who came in for a cross, but the Moroccans were so confident on the ball that when they had the ball, they extended their lead. Totally deserved it when it came.
Morocco ended the game without three of their usual back four on the pitch, but conceded just one goal in their five matches for the semi-finals, and even had a goal against Canada.
Expect more brutal defense against France or England in the semi-finals, but Morocco will suffer another blow after defeating Spain and Portugal.
2. Yahya Attiyat-Allah embodies the Moroccan spirit
In Mazroui’s place, coach Walid Regargui chose left-back Yahya Atiat-Allah, a 27-year-old who has spent most of his career at the club. Morocco Except for a short time in Greece. On paper it looked like a big drop but it was not.
Atiyat-Allah, having just won his eighth cap, pushed diogo dalot — against whom the right-back had an assist South Korea And Switzerland — and went ahead himself, crossing the ball for An-Nesri to score just before half time. Soon after Atiat-Allah almost made it 2-0 after lunging to get on the end of a rapid counter-attack from the edge of his own penalty area.
with dalot and bruno fernandesPortugal’s right-back has been a force to be reckoned with during the World Cup and not only did Atiat-Allah cancel out threats, but create one of his own. If Mazrouei is fit for the semi-finals, it could be a selection headache for Regaragui, even if he is happy with it.
3. Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo blew up
Portugal started the matches in Qatar averaging three goals per game, but despite having the majority of the ball against Morocco, they could not make it count. Eight different players have scored for Fernando Santos’ team at the World Cup and almost all of them had the wrong day off.
Fernandes hit the crossbar while Joao Felix and Goncalo Ramos both had good chances, but Switzerland were missing the slick attacking swagger that tore them to pieces. Bernardo Silva was sluggish on the ball and Fernandes was often forced out of the crowd; Dalot was a threat at right-back against South Korea and Switzerland, but rarely found room to get forward here.
Portugal have been both good and bad in this tournament and this was a bad day, although a lot of credit must be given to Morocco for producing anything remarkable.
Cristiano Ronaldo, again named on the bench, came on at the start of the second half. Equaled FIFA’s official record for most capped international male player with 196, But even he didn’t get one last great World Cup moment. It was a very humble way to bow if we see one of history’s greatest sportsmen on this stage for the last time.
Portugal had players reaching their first semi-final since 2006, but not a performance.
Player Rating (1 = worst, 10 = best)
Morocco: yassin bounou 7, Achraf Hakimi 7, Yahya Attiyat-Allah 8, Romain Sais 7, jawad al yamik 7, sofian amarbat 8, azzdeen aunahi 7, Selim Amallah 7, prince zeich 7, Sofiane Boufal 7, Yusuf N Nesri 7.
best and worst performers
Best: yahya attiyat allah
Came into the team for the injured Mazrouei and was excellent at left back, scoring goals for An-Nesri.
Worst: Diogo Costa
Portugal’s goalkeeper made a terrible mistake by gifting the goal to Morocco.
Highlights and Notable Moments
Youssef An-Nesri scored a famous goal for Morocco in the first half.
Morocco vs Portugal leads 🔥🇲🇦 pic.twitter.com/X9qbiJeCBP
— Fox Soccer (@FOXSoccer) December 10, 2022
Ronaldo’s reaction after Morocco’s goal 😅 pic.twitter.com/8fg4pyWp4W
— Fox Soccer (@FOXSoccer) December 10, 2022
And Cristiano Ronaldo could do nothing about it.
Cristiano Ronaldo was in tears as he walked down the tunnel after Portugal’s defeat. pic.twitter.com/FS6C7WMxbd
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) December 10, 2022
After the match: What the players and managers said
Post-match quotes will appear here…
Key Stats (Provided by ESPN Stats & Info)
Entering the match, Morocco were on a nine-match unbeaten streak in all competitions: the second longest among teams still in the World Cup. Croatia, 11 (6-0-5, WLD); Morocco 9 (6-0-3); England, 5 (3-0-2.)
En-Nesri’s goal was the second goal scored by Morocco in World Cup history. The second was also done by N Nesri in the 2018 World Cup vs Spain.
– Cristiano Ronaldo equaled FIFA’s official men’s all-time appearance record with Kuwait’s Badr Al-Mutawa on 196. However, according to RSSSF, Soh Chin An (Malaysia) holds the men’s all-time record with 219.
– Morocco’s Sofiane Amrabat has gained possession 41 times at the 2022 World Cup – more than any other player in the tournament.
– Morocco had 27% possession in the game but became the first African side to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup.
– Portugal are 1-7-0 (WLD) when trailing at half time in World Cups. Their only win came in 1966 versus North Korea (5–3).
– Morocco’s odds of reaching the semi-finals were 35-1 at Caesars Sportsbook, the 7th longest tie in the field.
Morocco: Incredibly, a World Cup semifinal against England or France is on the agenda for December 14 at 10PM local time / 2PM ET at Al Bayt Stadium.
Portugal: Cristiano Ronaldo and his side are out and the plane is home.