In order to grind out a scoreless draw and set up a thrilling finish, Walid Regragui's team had to fight valiantly against the Spanish.
Achraf Hakimi put the finest of finishing touches on Morocco’s defensive masterclass on Tuesday, ensuring hero status for all time. His “Panenka” penalty sent the North African country through to the quarterfinals while handing Spain a 3-0 shootout loss. In order to grind out a scoreless draw and set up a thrilling finish, Walid Regragui’s team had to fight valiantly against the Spanish “death by a thousand passes” strategy. In doing so, they had to sacrifice the majority of their possession. Yassine Bounou, the goalkeeper, joined Hakimi as an everlasting legend in Rabat, Marrakech, and beyond. In a packed Education City Stadium, which was primarily filled with Moroccan fans whose fervour has proven to be such a prominent feature of these finals, becoming just the fourth African side to reach the last eight at a World Cup – and the first in 12 years – sent the crowd wild.
This week, the Selecao easily defeated Switzerland and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Qatar 2022 World Cup as Fernando Santos was rewarded for establishing his authority by benching Portugal’s legendary captain. This victory may have been Santos’ greatest since winning the 2016 European Championship. Losing ageing superstar Cristiano Ronaldo allowed for a much more flexible and proactive attack, and his replacement, Benfica starlet Goncalo Ramos, was more than capable of taking over as the new king. The 21-year-old scored an unstoppable opening goal and then went on to score a fairytale hat-trick in Portugal’s 6-1 victory. It was his first senior start and the first treble of the competition.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who has the most appearances and goals scored for Portugal, is now on the bench. Goncalo Ramos, a new Selecao star, starts in his place up front. Fernando Santos also skipped Joao Cancelo against Switzerland in favour of Raphael Guerreiro at left back and Diogo Dalot at right back, and that lineup may not change. While William Carvalho hopes to hold off Ruben Neves’ challenge to keep his spot in the Portuguese engine room, another of his less-noticed inclusions, Otavio, should continue in midfield. Nuno Mendes was previously ruled out of the knockout stages due to injury, and Danilo is still in doubt. Ruben Dias should partner 39-year-old Pepe at the back in the latter’s likely absence.
Morocco has fielded a largely consistent XI throughout the finals, in contrast to some lineup shuffles by Portugal. Walid Regragui is concerned about Nayef Aguerd of West Ham United’s fitness more than any other essential cog in his well-oiled machine. The always-present centre back is in a race against time after being replaced by captain Romain Saiss with strapping on his leg during the win over Spain. In addition, Sofyan Amrabat, who had a back issue, played through the discomfort.
Portugal probable starting lineup: Costa, Dalot, Pepe, Dias, Guerreiro; B. Silva, Carvalho, Otavio; Fernandes, Ramos, Felix
Morocco probable starting lineup: Bounou, Hakimi, Saiss, Aguerd, Mazraoui; Ounahi, Amrabat, Amallah; Ziyech, En-Nesyri, Boufal
|South Korea||2-1 (L)|
|Spain||0-0 (3-0 pens) (W)|
|Latest match results (all competitions)||Score|
|Portugal beat Morocco||1-0|
|Morocco beat Portugal||3-1|
The FIFA World Cup match between Portugal and Morocco will take place at Al Thumama Stadium on Saturday at 8:30 pm IST.
|Portugal vs Morocco||Key Details|
|Venue||Al Thumama Stadium|
|Kickoff time in India||8:30 pm (Saturday)|
|Kickoff time in Portugal||3:00 pm (Saturday)|
|Kickoff time in Morocco||4:00 pm (Saturday)|
|Kickoff time in Qatar||6:00 pm (Saturday)|
The FIFA World Cup in Qatar can be seen on Sports18 – 1 SD & HD – in India. Sports 18 will be telecasting the games on the regular and HD Channels. Besides, Viacom18 Sports announced that Jio Cinema will live-stream all the World Cup games. Besides, the match between Portugal and Morocco can be seen on beIN Sports network, Arryadia 3 and TOD in Morocco; and Antena 1-RTP, Sport TV 1, Sport TV, Multiscreen and SIT Sports network in Portugal.