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spainSPAINargentinaARGENTINAchileCHILEcolombiaCOLOMBIAusaUSAmexicoMEXICOperuPERUlatin usaLATIN USAamericaAMERICA
Morocco MAR
1
En-Nesyri 41',Walid Cheddira 92'
Finished

Morocco vs Portugal summary: En Nesyri goal, score, goals, highlights | Qatar World Cup 2022

Update:
En Nesyri scored in the 42nd minute to win it for Morocco. Ronaldo came on in the second half. Morocco play England or France.

Qatar 2022 World Cup quarter-final: Morocco vs Portugal

MOROCCO 1-0 PORTUGAL: Full-time!

THEY'VE DONE IT!

Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls. You are witnessing HISTORY!

The first African nation to ever reach the semi-finals of the World Cup. The first Arab nation to ever reach the semi-finals of the World Cup. 

Belgium, Spain, Portugal...maybe further down the line it will be England or France

​​​​​​​Nobody can begrudge Morocco a place in the final four. As we expected, Portugal dominated possession in the early stages of the first half and Morocco were prepared to pick their moment to hit them on the counter-attack. As the first half progressed, they opened up and created the best chances of the half, with Youssef En-Nesyri missing two good chances before opening the scoring just before half-time after a goalkeeping mistake from Diogo Costa. 

The second half was an exercise of defence against attack, for the large majority. They were put under the cosh by Portugal at different periods but defended for their lives, gave up few opportunities and carried a threat on the counter-attack. The Portuguese struggled to open the up and Morocco had chances to finish the game off on the break, which they didn't take. That set up a tense finale but they pulled through thanks to Bono's superb save from Félix and Pepe's miss right at the death. 

This is just the third time that Portugal have reached the quarter-final stage but they'll feel they've missed an opportunity to go further, given that they had what was perceived as a 'favourable' draw. Surely Cristiano Ronaldo, who'll be 41 by the time the 2026 World Cup comes around, will never have another chance to add the World Cup trophy to his collection of honours. 

France vs Morocco live online: score, stats & updates | Qatar World Cup 2022

WORLD CUP 2022

France vs Morocco live online: score, stats & updates | Qatar World Cup 2022

It's now Wednesday 14 December and in case you have landed on this older feed, allow us to point you towards the second semi-final of the 2022 World Cup, France vs Morocco to find out who will play Argentina in the showpiece final. 

Joe is the man in place with our live coverage to take you through all the build up ahead of the game, bringing you team news and various insights into the two sides.

And then from kick off he will carry you all the way to when the final whistle blows in Qatar. You'll not want to miss out!

Argentina vs Croatia live online: score, stats & updates | Qatar World Cup 2022

WORLD CUP 2022

Argentina vs Croatia live online: score, stats & updates | Qatar World Cup 2022

It's now Tuesday 13 December and in case you have stumbled across this older feed, allow us to redirect you to the first semi-final of the 2022 World CupArgentina vs Croatia.

Joe is the man in place with our live coverage to take you through all the build up ahead of the game, bringing you team news and various insights into the two sides.

And then from kick off he will carry you all the way to when the final whistle blows and we have our first finalist in Qatar confirmed. You'll not want to miss out!

En-Nesyri wins it for Morocco

Diogo Costa didn't cover himself in glory but Youssef En-Nesyri won't care about that. It was a tremendous leap by the big striker (would it be cheeky to reminiscent of Cristiano Ronaldo?) and his goal will forever be remembered in Casablanca, Marrakesh, Rabat and beyond. 

But what if this isn't the end of the story for Morocco? It could just be the beginning. 

England or Francebeware. Spain, Belgium and Portugal have already suffered at their hands. 

Bruno Fernandes: I don't know if they're going to give the cup to Argentina

Wow. There is not a lot of love from the Portuguese for the match officials or indeed Argentina.

Bruno Fernandes next:

"I don't know if they're going to give the cup to Argentina. I don't care, I'm going to say what I think and screw them It's very strange that a referee from a team that whistles us it's still in the Cup. They've clearly tilted the field against us."

Ruben Dias: It looked a clear penalty to us

Pepe's fellow defender Ruben Dias has also been voicing his unhappiness with the refereeing performance, although specifically related to one moment in the game. Early in the second half, Otavio and Achraf Hakimi clashed in the box and Portugal felt as if they should've been awarded a spot-kick. 

"The penalty? It looked clear to us. And it defined the game. If we'd equalised at that point, it would've been like starting the game all over again."

'SCENES!' in Casablanca

And who can blame them? This could be a once-a-lifetime experience for Morocco and their fans (of course, it might not be). 

Drink it in!

Pepe: It's unacceptable that we had an Argentinian referee

First it was Lionel Messi last night and now it's Pepe complaining about the performance of the match official:

"We conceded a goal that we didn't see coming. But what I've got to say might come as a bit of a shock but I'm going to have to say it anyway. It's unacceptable that an Argentinian referee was taking charge of our game. After what happened yesterday, with Messi. They should just give Argentina the title."

"After what everyone's saying in Argentina, we have an Argentinian referee. I'm not saying that he was biased towards them but what was that all about in the second half? Their goalkeeper spent most of it on the ground. They only added on eight minutes. Is that referee for real? Eight minutes?"

Fernando Santos on possible resignation and Cristiano Ronaldo

Portugal head coach Fernando Santos has been speaking after the match and if I asked you go guess which two questions he'd been asked, you'd be able to do it easily:

On whether he'll resign: “I had a discussion with the president and when we go back to Portugal with serenity and calm, we will deal with the contract situation."

On whether he should've started Cristiano Ronaldo: "No I don’t think so. No regrets. I think this was a team that played very well. He is a very good player. He came on when it was necessary so no regrets."

El Yamiq kisses Pepe after late miss

I missed this at the time but remember when Pepe headed that late chance wide deep into stoppage time? Well, Morocco defender Jawad El Yamiq kissed the Portuguese centre-back's head in celebration. 

I can't decide if that's totally disrespectful or absolutely hilarious. Maybe a bit of both. 

England vs France live online: score, stats and updates | Qatar World Cup 2022

WORLD CUP 2022

England vs France live online: score, stats and updates | Qatar World Cup 2022

Just a little reminder that we are just an hour and 15 minutes away from kickoff in the England vs France quarter-final. That's the tie of the round for my money, on paper at least, and the winner of the tournament could very well come from that match-up. 

William is covering that game live, be sure to head over there to say hello!

Qatar 2022 World Cup semi-finals

We now that the winners of the 2022 World Cup will be one of Croatia, Argentina, Morocco, England or France. 

The semi-final line-up, as things stand:

 

Argentina  vs   Croatia: Tuesday, 13 December, kickoff 2pm ET

England/France vs   ​​​​​​​Morocco; Wednesday, 14 December, kickoff 2pm ET

This image of Soufiane Boufal celebrating with his mother at full-time is tremendous. Sometimes we think of soccer players as robots who get paid millions to do what they love but the emotional side of it is what makes it the sport we all love. 

We've seen it so many times before and we'll no doubt see it again. A solid defence is the key to success in international football, more so than in club football. 

You rarely see successful international sides winning games 3-2 and 4-3. Morocco's record at this World Cup is sensational!

Morocco boss Regragui says European clubs think Arabs and Africans are “ignorant in football”.

WORLD CUP 2022

Morocco boss Regragui says European clubs think Arabs and Africans are “ignorant in football”.

Morocco coach Walid Regragui, it's safe to say, has worked wonders in a short space of time in charge of the Atlas Lions. He was only appointed at the end of August and has already made them an incredibly tough team to beat, as you've seen. 

Despite performing miracles at this World Cup, he doesn't expect a top European team, for instance, to give him an opportunity at the elite end of club football:

“I think it’s impossible that Manchester City or Barcelona will bring an African or Arab coach, they don’t even think about it."

Here's Joe to tell us more. 

Cristiano Ronaldo in tears as Portugal exit

Cristiano Ronaldo understandably left the field in tears as Portugal's World Cup hopes ended for at least another four years. A Seleção will be back to try again in 2026 but will their captain?

You'd have to think that this was his last chance to win the one trophy that's missing from his own personal cabinet. 

Morocco are in the Qatar 2022 World Cup semi-finals

Morocco have only played in six World Cups. They've only made it past the group stage twice. 

Now they're in the semi-finals. Let that sink in. 

Morocco are into their first ever World Cup semi-final, where they'll face England or France. You can follow all the action from that game with William: France vs England live!

90+6

PEPEEEEEE!

Portugal won't get a better chance than that. Leão's cross comes in to the back post, Pepe's there to head it...wide! That should've gone in. 

90+5

OH. MY. WORD.

With everyone upfield, Aboukhlal has a chance to seal a famous win for Morocco! He's clean through on goal. He...tries to dink it and makes a total hash of it. 

Three minutes to go. 

90+4

Cancelo flings a hopeful ball into the box but it's too long for Dias. 

This goal kick won't be taken quickly. 

90+4

This is TENSE!​​​​​​​

90+3

Madness from Cheddira! Two yellow cards in the space of 45 seconds or so and he's off! 

They're going to have to do it the hard way!

90+1

RONALDOOOOOOO....saved by Bono!

We've hardly seen him but that was his chance to make his mark in the way he normally does....he's clean through on goal but his low shot is kept out by a fine stop from Bono!

Eight minutes of stoppage time!

90

A chance for Cheddira to finish the game...actually, no. Offside

88

Huge cheers from the Morocco fans as João Félix sends the ball out for a throw with Portugal having loaded bodies into the box. 

87

Vitinha goes in the book for stopping a Morocco breakaway. 

86

Ooooooft, that's risky defending from El Yamiq! He launched himself at Fernandes' low cross with his body, he could quite easily have handled that in the box. 

85

Attack against defence, can the defence hold out?

84

The Moroccan fans have come back to life, perhaps in the realisation that they're just a matter of minutes away from rewriting history!

83

A free-kick to Portugal here in a veeeeeery dangerous position. Fernandes takes and...completely wastes it. He tried to play another clever one but got it all wrong. 

82

Superb save from Bono!

João Félix was first to test Bono and he's had the best effort on the second half for Portugal! That was arrowing into the corner until Bono intervened!

81

Morocco changes

Jabrane and Aboukhlal replace Boufal and Ziyech. That might hamper Morocco in terms of creativity a little but that's not what they need right now. 

79

Ziyech is back on as Morocco try to get back into some kind of defensive shape. 

79

Ricardo Horta replaces Diogo Dalot for Portugal. That's an attacking change. 

Ronaldo in action during Morocco vs Portugal

Hard fought

Ronaldo's looked lively since he came on, but can he produce the moment of magic Portugal need?

77

Ziyech down

Ziyech gets chopped down by a hard, but fair, challenge from Ruben Dias. A break in the pulsating play.

75

Remember those loose balls in the box that I mentioned? Ronaldo was so close to being on the end of one there. He'll get another chance, the way this is going. 

74

Out of nowhere, Morocco break and almost have a chance for a second! Great play from Ounahi once again, Cheddira looks as if he's going to get a shot away but it's blocked. 

73

Superb play on the left from Cancelo wins a corner.

Cleared.

Another corner.

Tipped away by Bono.

Another corner. 

Cleared. 

It keeps coming back. 

72

Non-stop pressure from Portugal. The atmosphere has turned, the Moroccan fans are feeling the tension

70

Ooooooh, that was so close to being a big chance for Bernando Silva! Everyone was waiting for Fernandes to whip the free-kick into the box but he instead plays a really clever pass to Silva, who's on his heels and can't quite reach it. 

70

Welcome to the game, Rafael Leão!Dari clatters into the Milan man out on the touchline and gets a yellow card for his troubles. 

69

Portugal changes

Rafael Leão and Vitinha are next to come on for Portugal, replacing Ramos and Otavio. 

68

Fernandes floats a nice looking ball into the box with the outside of his boot and it's only just too high, Ronaldo was ready to nod that one in!

67

Portugal have definitely taken control of this game since Cancelo and Ronaldo came on. Not that Ronaldo has been involved that much, but that probably doesn't matter. If there's a loose ball in the box, you know he'll be there. 

Marrakesh madness

These were the scenes in Marrakesh as En-Nesyri's header flew into the net.

This is what the World Cup is all about. 

65

Double change for Morocco

Amallah and goalscorer En-Nesyri go off, on come Walid Cheddira and Badr Benoun. 

63

CLOOOOOOOOSE! Bruno Fernandes!

Portugal are turning the screw, Cancelo has made a difference down the left. 

The ball is worked inside to Fernandes, who has space to shoot from the edge of the box and misses the target by inches!

61

Fernando whips a dangerous ball in from the right but it's just a little too far ahead of Ramos, who was well tracked by El Yaniq. 

60

It's suddenly become backs-to-the-wall defending for Morocco. But as we've seen plenty of times already at this World Cup, they're up to the challenge. A long way to go though. 

57

Ramos finally sees a bit of action! He's feeding off scraps though. Otavio sends the ball into the box from the right and Ramos has a lot of work to do to get a header on target, which he couldn't do. 

55

Ounahi blazes over. Ahhhh, that was a nice move. Boufal sped away down the left and played it into En Nesyri, who laid it off to Ounahi...the less said about the finish the better. 

54

Better again from Portugal. Dalot gets away down the right and has time to pick a man out in the middle but hits it straight into Bono's arms. Ronaldo amongst those waiting who wasn't happy.  

Sorry, I couldn't go through a whole game without a Bono pun. 

51

Ronaldo immediately involved as he runs into the left channel and send a deflected cross into the box, which is gathered by Bono. He found was he was looking for there, the Morocco goalkeeper. 

50

Cristiano Ronaldo and João Cancelo on for Neves and Guerreiro. 

50

Cristiano Ronaldo about to entry the fray

Exactly what I said. The time has come. 

49

Almost 2-0! Costa is again in trouble as a free-kick comes into the box, he beats it away but it comes off El Yamiq and goes just wide of the post!

48

A great run forward from right-back from Hakimi is halted by Pepe, who pulls off the usual 'I didn't touch him even though I clearly did' routine with the ref. 

47

Portugal played with more urgency in the last three minutes of the first half as they did in the first 42 minutes. They've started reasonably well in this second period, although it's a far cry from their performance against Switzerland in the last 16. 

Did anyone have Morocco to get as far as the semi-finals (even the quarters)? If so, could you lend me your crystal ball, please?

Away we go again! Can Morocco do this??

Ticketless fans causing trouble

I mentioned at the start of the game that there had been some issues for fans who were trying to get into the ground, which was only half full when the game kicked off. 

Seemingly, fans without tickets were preventing fans who did have them from getting into the ground. That's just not cool, is it? Thankfully, the worst of the problems seem to be over. 

En-Nesyri making history

Three World Cup goals for En-Nesyri...and he could've had more! 

Half-time: Morocco 1-0 Portugal

Morocco are just 45 minutes (plus about 15 minutes of injury time, no doubt) away from becoming the first African country to make it to the World Cup semi-finals! And they're good value for their lead too!

Portugal dominated possession in the early stages, with Morocco happy to sit in and wait for the moment to pounce on the counter-attack. It's a strategy that ultimately helped them defeat Spain in the round of 16 and they've arguably had even more success with it in this tie. 

Walid Regragui's side committed more bodies forward as the half wore on, without compromising their defensive shape. Youssef En-Nesyri squandered a couple of decent openings but was in the right place at the right time to take full advantage of Diogo Costa's costly mistake, the Portugal goalkeeper getting nowhere near a cross, allowing the striker to nod into an empty net. 

Portugal upped the ante after going behind and will need to keep the pace of the game up after half-time if they're to find a way back into this one. 

 

45+2

Drama at either end to finish the half!

First, Fernandes goes down in the box, referee Tello deems that there's been no wrongdoing anywhere. 

Then, Morocco race away down the other end and Attiat Allah has a clear sight of goal, only to slice horribly wide when he should've done better!

En Nesyri scores for Morocco against Portugal

En Nesyri in flight...

Some leap from En Nesyri for the only goal of the first half...

Two minutes of added time. 

44

Fernandes...OFF THE BAR!

Almost an immediate response from Portugal! Fernandes clips one over Bono from a tight angle and it comes back off the crossbar! What an effort!

41

GOOOOOOOOOOAL FOR MOROCCO!

Costa has had a howler but En-Nesryi won't care!

Attiat Allah hangs in a hopeful ball from the left, Costa comes to collect it and gets nowhere near it. En-Nesryi rises HIGH into the air and nods it into the net. 

That was coming!

40

Ramos down, Ronaldo watches on

Ramos has barely been involved in this game at all. You would almost have forgotten that he's on if he hadn't gone down with a knock there to remind us. Looks like he'll be OK to continue but they've got a decent replacement on the bench. 

38

Up the other end, another sight of goal for Félix. Guerreiro finds him on the edge of the box and he connects with it well on the half-volley but he can't keep it down and it goes over. 

37

En-Nesryi inches away from getting in behind! Can Morocco grab a goal before half-time? They're looking very lively.

36

We had Boufal a little earlier out on the left and this time it's Ziyech on the right pulling out the party tricks. Morocco definitely growing into this as an attacking force. 

35

Another shot on goal for Morocco! And Costa is forced into action, although it was an easy stop.

Morocco are starting to commit more bodies forward and Boufal works a shooting position for the edge of the box, although he doesn't get it far enough in the corner and it's comfortably held by Costa. 

34

And now comes Morocco's best effort! Ounahi switches the play out to the left and Attiat Allah cuts the ball back into the box for Amallah, who strikes it well on the half-volley but it flies over. 

32

Fernandes' radar is a bit off so far. He tries to pick out Diego Dalot, the opposite full-back, this time but again puts it out for a throw. 

30

CLOSE for Portugal!

The closest we've come so far, by far.

João Félix pounces on a poor headed clearance by El Yamiq and fires one goalwards, it takes a deflection and goes just wide of Bono's post. 

28

There's potential for Raphael Guerreiro to get in for Portugal down the left side. He's often the spare man and in plenty of space. Fernandes tries to pick him out there and sticks it straight out of play but there was a chance to get him into a dangerous position.  

27

Morocco have definitely been the more threatening side so far. Sometimes having possession of the ball is overrated. 

25

Another reasonable glimpse of goal for En-Nesyri! And again, he should do better! Ziyech sticks a free-kick into the box, En-Nesyri gets head to it but his angles are all wrong and it flies well wide. 

22

A little bit of aggro as Bono collects Guerreiro's cross under severe pressure from Bruno Fernandes. The Moroccans aren't happy with Fernandes' challenge on their goalkeeper but there didn't look to be anything wrong with it, he had to go for it. 

20

A good spell for Morocco here. Ziyech is becoming more involved, they've had a couple of corners (which have been poor, in all honesty). 

19

Beautiful skill from Boufal to get out of trouble in his own left-back area. Morocco will want to see him do that higher up the field, though. 

17

And here come Morocco! Ounahi breaks forward and plays it out to Ziyech on the right. He drifts inside and lines one up, it's ambitious...oh, it's too ambitious. He snatches at it and it goes harmlessly wide. 

16

Man-of-the-moment Gonçalo Ramos has barely had a touch yet but he almost got in behind there. Otavio looked to curl one in behind the Morocco defence but it had just a little too much on it and it ran through to Bono. 

14

In general, the pattern of play has been for Portugal to have the ball and Morocco springing forward quickly on the counter-attack. Both teams will probably be quite happy with that. 

12

Another chance for Portugal to get the ball into the box from a free-kick...

The initial ball in is cleared to Guerreiro, who strikes it sweetly on the volley but it's blocked by the Morocco defence a few yards out. 

10

If Amallah had pulled that off, it would've been one of the moves of the tournament! Boufal plays it into his feet on the edge of the box, he tries to flick it round a defender and run on to it but he gets too much on the touch and Costa collects. 

Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench again

The novelty of Cristiano Ronaldo starting on the bench clearly hasn't worn off...

7

A sudden burst of action after a fairly quiet start. Let's keep it up please!

5

The first break forward in open play comes from Morocco! Attiat Allah gets away down the left and bursts into the box but Dalot gets back to block out for a corner. 

And there's a huge chance for En-Nesyri from the corner! He rose above everyone and got a good connection on it, only to head it over the bar. 

4

Fine save from Bono! Neves whips a cross in after a short free-kick and Félix connects with an excellent diving header, which is pushed round the post! The corner doesn't come to anything but that's an early warning for Morocco!

3

Lots of possession for Portugal at the moment but not going anywhere. Morocco were happy to let Spain have LOTS of the ball in the last round and it didn't do them too much harm. We can expect more of the same today. 

2

Morocco walking wounded

Captain Romain Saïss is one of several Moroccan players who are heavily bandaged at the start of this game. That's surely not going to help them...

And we're oooooooooff! Huge boos as Portugal kick off...

There have seemingly been some issues with fans getting into the ground, which is only around half full at present. 

We're going to get underway regardless though. 
​​​

Portugal fans present...but in fewer numbers!

They are here! And no doubt they were singing that anthem at the top of their lungs. 

Almost time to go!

National anthem review

And LOUD it was from Morocco! When you hear it ringing around the ground like that, that can only get your juices flowing. Especially if you're Moroccan. 

Listening to the anthem, it genuinely feels as if the Portugal players are the only Portuguese in the ground (they're obviously not). Anyway, they'll be full of confidence after thrashing Switzerland.  

Morocco fans in big numbers

As has been the case in almost every Morocco game so far, they are significantly outnumbering the opposition support. 

And they're about to belt out that national anthem. This is going to be LOUD!

Who is the referee for the Morocco vs Portugal quarter-final game in the World Cup 2022?

WORLD CUP 2022

Who is the referee for the Morocco vs Portugal quarter-final game in the World Cup 2022?

Facundo Tello to referee Morocco vs Portugal

What's the highest number of red cards you've ever seen in one match? Well, double it (or more) and you'll get to Argentine referee Facundo Tello's record. 

Here's a little bit more about him, record and all, thanks to Andy. 

TOGETHER for the same goal

The tagline from Portugal here has caught my attention. The cynic in me wonders if it's a message for anyone in particular...

15 minutes to go until kick-off!

Who is Gonçalo Ramos?

Cristiano Ronaldo sensationally made way for Gonçalo Ramos in the round of 16, prompting many who don't watch Portuguese soccer to frantically search for info about him online before the game against Switzerland got underway. 

21-year-old Ramos plays for Benfica and has plenty of pedigree, as you might expect. He worked his way through the academy system at the Lisbon club and made his first-team debut, in July 2020 scoring twice in that game. He was the top scorer for Portugal at the U19 European Championships in 2019 and has scored 14 goals for his club in the 2022-23 season, including five in Europe.

He made his debut for Portugal as recently as September and has now scored four goals in four games for his country. Ronaldo would be proud of that ratio...

Portugal: World Cup record

It's worth remembering that Portugal, in the grand scheme of things, weren't actually especially good at soccer until fairly recently.Before 1986, they only qualified for one tournament, with Eusebio leading them to third place in England in 1966. 

After being eliminated in the group stage in 1986, they had to wait until 2002 to qualify again but they've since made it to the following five tournaments and established themselves as a relative powerhouse in international soccer. 

That said, they've not done especially well in World Cups, being eliminated in the round of 16 or at the group stage in all but one of those five tournaments (they reached the semi-finals in 2006 in Germany). They did, of course, win the European Championship under Fernando Santos in 2016 and then went on to win the inaugural UEFA Nations League three years later. 

Morocco: World Cup record

Before this year, Morocco had only ever made it out of the group stage on one occasion: in 1986, when they were defeated 1-0 by eventual finalists West Germany in the round of 16. So this is already their best ever performance in the competition. 

The Atlas Lions had never qualified for the tournament until 1970 and are making their sixth appearance in 2022. Their two wins this year have equalled the number of victories they managed at the five previous tournaments put together. 

Morocco only the fourth African national to reach the World Cup quarter-finals

Incredibly, Morocco are just the fourth African nation to reach the World Cup quarter-finals. And no country has ever managed it twice. Can they make history today?

I still think that Nigeria side of the late 90s/early 2000s should've done better than they did. 

Morocco vs Portugal odds and predictions: Who is the favorite in the World Cup 2022 game?

WORLD CUP 2022

Morocco vs Portugal odds and predictions: Who is the favorite in the World Cup 2022 game?

Morocco vs Portugal: who's the favourite?

In fact, does it even matter? If you watched Croatia vs Brazil, Argentina vs Saudi Arabia, Tunisia vs France, Germany vs Japan, Belgium vs Morocco or...pretty much any Morocco game, you'll know not to read too much into these things. 

However, if you fancy having a flutter, Fidel is here with some info which will point you in the right direction.

Santos reveals “normal” conversation with Ronaldo

WORLD CUP 2022

Santos reveals “normal” conversation with Ronaldo

There were, inevitably, stories in the Portuguese media this week claiming that Ronaldo hadn't been, shall we say, 'too happy' about his omission from the team against Switzerland. But coach Fernando Santos played down those suggestion and revealed the conversation between the pair ahead of the round of 16 clash. 

The conversation had to happen, which is completely normal and makes complete sense on my part. Since I took the helm we needed to talk and have a close relationship with the players – that’s my approach.”

“I explained by saying, ‘look Cristiano, I’m not counting on you from the start of this match, but I’m counting on you obviously for the match. I think you are going to be very important in the game,’” aid Santos.

Cristiano, for obvious reasons, was not very happy about it. He has always been a starting player. He said, ‘Do you really think it’s a good idea?’ But we had a normal conversation. I explained my viewpoints, he accepted. We had a frank and normal conversation.”

More here from Jennifer. 

Portugal fan in the stands ahead of Morocco vs Portugal

First!

That heady feeling of excited anticipation before the game... and trying to work out if this is Section G or H and is this my row 12...

Morocco starting line-up vs Portugal

And this is how Morocco should line up:

Bounou; Hakimi, El Yamiq, Saïss, Attiat Allah; Ounahi, Amrabat, Amallah; Ziyech, En-Nesyri, Boufal. 

El Yamiq and Attiat Allah are the two new faces in the starting line-up. ​​​​​​​

No Nayef Aguerd or Noussair Mazraoui for Morocco vs Portugal

Oh no.

The Morocco defence that has performed so admirably at this World Cup has been (partly) decimated. Centre-back Nayef Aguerd and left-back Noussair Mazraoui have lost their battles to be fit to take on Portugal. At least Achraf Hakimi and Romain Saïss are available, despite their own fitness issues. 

Referees test goal-line tech ahead of Portugal vs Morocco

Over the line?

The referee squad out testing the goal-line tech ahead of the game. Is that one over? As we saw between Japan and Spain the only real way to tell is if you're right above the ball. 

Portugal starting line-up vs Morocco

This is how Portugal are expected to line up:

Costa: Dalot, Pepe, Dias, Guerreiro; Neves, Otavio, Silva; Fernandes, Ramos, Félix.

Cristiano Ronaldo starts on the bench for Portugal vs Morocco

No sooner had I posted the 'early team news' than we have 'actual team news'!

Cristiano Ronaldo again starts on the bench which, unlike the other night against Switzerland, is not a surprise. Manchester City full-back João Cancelo will also be sitting there too. 

One change to the team sent out by Fernando Santos, with Ruben Neves replacing William Carvalho in midfield. 

Portugal: early team news

After that unbelievable performance against the Swiss, Santos will surely start the same 11 once again. Of course, that would mean Ronaldo on the bench and Gonçalo Ramos to startJoão Cancelo was also a substitute against Switzerland and could very well find himself there again on Saturday. Portugal will be without defensive duo Danilo and Nuno Mendes. Danilo, who fractured three ribs, and Mendes, who is suffering from a thigh injury, both left the squad on Thursday to be treated by the PSG staff in France.

Morocco: early teams news

It's still a touch early for the starting line-ups but let's have a look at how the two sides are shaping up for this quarter-final clash. 

Morocco were dealt a blow when defender Nayef Aguerd suffered a hamstring injury in the game against Spain and it’s still not clear whether he'll be fit to play against Portugal. He missed training on Friday, though, which isn't a good sign. Full-back Achraf Hakimi didn't train on Friday either and has been struggling with a knock throughout the tournament, which is also a worry.

Not only that, but captain Romain Saiss was forced off in the Round of 16 with a leg problem and midfielder Sofyan Amrabat has been playing through back pain.

If possible, it's likely Regragui will want to stick with a similar lineup to the one that saw off Spain.

“Ronaldo on the bench tomorrow? Perfect!” says Regragui

WORLD CUP 2022

“Ronaldo on the bench tomorrow? Perfect!” says Regragui

Will Cristiano Ronaldo play for Portugal vs Morocco?

As ever, Cristiano Ronaldo's name is not far away from the headlines before this game. Before any game. It's safe to say that the Portugal captain (for how much longer?) is not having a great time of things at the moment.

He came into the tournament on the back of having his Manchester United contract terminated because of well-documented criticism of how different facets of the club were being run, he had a goal taken off him in the win over Uruguay and, considerably worse, was dropped for the round of 16 game against Switzerland. Will Ronaldo have been happy to have seen his nation run riot in a game that he didn't start? You can make your own minds up on that one...

Will he play today against Morocco? You'd have to think not, considering just how well Portugal played without him. And Morocco coach Walid Regragui will be pleased if Ronaldo doesn't take to the field:

“As a coach, I know he’s one of the best players in history. I’d be delighted if he didn’t play. But we’re not going to focus on Portugal. They’re hungry, they also want to get into the history books."

Portugal vs Switzerland summary: score, goals, highlights | Qatar World Cup 2022

WORLD CUP 2022

Portugal vs Switzerland summary: score, goals, highlights | Qatar World Cup 2022

Portugal 6-1 Switzerland: Qatar 2022 World Cup round of 16

For the first time in the tournament, and the first time I can remember in a while, Portugal put on a show. And they did it (more or less) without Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portugal captain being dropped to the bench was the big story before the game but manager Fernando Santos' selection was completely justified, with Ronaldo's replacement Gonçalo Ramos netting a superb hat-trick. Portugal were slick in possession, with Ramos' clever movement giving Bernardo Silva, João Félix, Bruno Fernandes and others a target to hit in behind and space to work in. Ramos' finishing was reminiscent of that of Ronaldo, who came on for the youngster to a huge ovation for the final 20 minutes. 

Switzerland's decision to play with an unfamiliar three-at-the-back system in the first half played into Portugal's hands, allowing A Seleção to slice them open time and again. Murat Yakin's side are normally resolute and tough to break down, which makes the Portuguese demolition job all the more impressive. 

Morocco vs Spain summary: penalties, score, goals, highlights | Qatar World Cup 2022

WORLD CUP 2022

Morocco vs Spain summary: penalties, score, goals, highlights | Qatar World Cup 2022

Morocco 0-0 Spain (3-0 on penalties): round of 16

Morocco have been superb defensively in the World Cup, conceding just once - an own goal against Canada - in their four fixtures so far. ​​​​​​​They knew exactly what they were going to do against a favoured Spain side at Education City Stadium in the Round of 16. Stand strong in defence and look to hit the Spaniards on the break when they had the chance...

And if those breaks led to nothing they'd regroup and absolutely ensure Spain couldn't break through. And if the match had to go to extra-time, well so be it. And if it had to go to penalties, well that too.

So it came to pass. Spain moved the ball around for the entire match, as we knew they would, stringing together something like 1,000 passes to 250 from Morocco, but in terms of shots and chances there was little to separate the two sides, and when after 120 minutes neither side had scored, Morocco's men of the hour did exactly what was needed: keeper Bono saved two, while Abdelhamid Sabiri, Hakim Ziyech and Achraf Hakimi scored their spot-kicks to send Spain out and Morocco into the next round.

Portugal: group stage

Portugal were one of three teams, along with Brazil and France, to qualify for the World Cup knockout stage with a game to spare. Even so, were they really that impressive in the group stage? By comparison to their round-of-16 performance against Switzerland (more on that in a moment), no, they were not. 

Fernando Santos has often been criticised for failing to get the best out of his considerable attacking talents and the first half of the first game against Ghana did little to suggest that would change in this tournament. The Portuguese, spurred on by Cristiano Ronaldo's penalty, came to life briefly in the second half, with further goals from João Félix and Rafael Leão securing a 3-2 win. A subsequent 2-0 victory against Uruguay was more convincing and dominated by whether Ronaldo got a touch to Bruno Fernandes' cross into the box, which ended up in the net (he didn't, ruled FIFA). The third game against South Korea was essentially meaningless for Portugal and they lost, although we probably shouldn't have read too much into that one. 

group HTMPWDL
163201
243111
343111
433102

Morocco: group stage

OK, let's be honest, how many of you had Morocco down to top Group F

The Atlas Lions were drawn with 2018 finalists, and now 2022 semi-finalists, Croatia plus second-best-team-in-the-world, according to the FIFA Rankings, Belgium. That goalless draw against the Croats is looking more and more impressive with time, while the 2-0 win against the Belgians was the stand-out result in the group and effectively sent the Red Devils packing. After that victory, a 2-1 triumph over bottom nation Canada was almost expected but was required to make they topped a group that nobody, if they're honest, thought they would top. 

group FTMPWDL
173210
253120
343111
403003

Two hours until Morocco vs Portugal!

Only two hours to go until Morocco vs Portugal gets underway! And yes, I said 'only' because those two hours are going to fly past. 

Time to get down to the serious business of taking an in-depth look at today's protagonists!

Morocco vs Portugal: times, how to watch on TV, stream online, 2022 World Cup

WORLD CUP 2022

Morocco vs Portugal: times, how to watch on TV, stream online, 2022 World Cup

I know that you will obviously all be sticking with me so that you can follow Morocco vs Portugal right here but you might also be looking for a place where you can watch the game.

For those of you based in the US, we’ve got all angles covered.

Here are just a couple of options for you:

- Watch Morocco vs Portugal live on fuboTV

- Watch Morocco vs Portugal live on Peacock (Spanish commentary)

World Cup 2022 live online: game and team updates - quarter-final stage

WORLD CUP 2022

World Cup 2022 live online: game and team updates - quarter-final stage

Before we go in hard on Morocco vs Portugal, just a little reminder that you can keep up-to-date with all the goings-on at the 2022 World Cup over at our dedicated live blog.

Did you know, for instance, that Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer had broken his leg? Do you know what Lionel Messi said about Netherlands vs Argentina ref Antonio Mateu Lahoz (there’s a link to that one in a previous post, too)? Did you hear about the absolutely tragic death of leading US journalist Grant Wahl?

It’s all over there.

Qatar 2022 World Cup semi-final line-up (so far)

What does that mean for the Qatar 2022 World Cup semi-finals then? Well, we’ve got one matchup fixed and another that’ll be decided today:

​​​​​​​

Argentina   vs  Croatia: Tuesday, 13 December 2022, 2pm ET

England/France vs Morocco vs Portugal: Wednesday, 14 December 2022, 2pm ET

 

Only six matches left (I'm generously including the third-place playoff), including today's. That's gone by quick, hasn't it??

Netherlands vs Argentina

Yesterday's World Cup results: Netherlands vs Argentina

Netherlands 2-2 Argentina (3-4 on penalties)

If you’re into your penalties, they you were in luck yesterday.

This was not a classic game in terms of the soccer played, in my opinion, but there was plenty of drama, including plenty of aggro between the two teams, which intensified as the game went on. Argentina looked to have this one sewn up after Lionel Messi’s penalty put them 2-0 up with 17 minutes to play but a late double from Netherlands sub Wout Weghorst sent the game into extra-time, which would’ve been a pretty poor spectacle were it not for the pettiness and argy-bargy (no pun intended) on show from both teams.

Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz totally lost control of things and Messi let him know after the game. Lautaro Martínez, who’s not had a great World Cup, I think it’s fair to say, was the hero along with namesake Emi in the shootout.

Neymar

Yesterday's World Cup results: Croatia vs Brazil

Did you miss any of yesterday’s action? You probably didn’t, but here’s what went down just in case.

Croatia 1-1 Brazil (4-2 on penalties)

On my goodness. I thought Brazil were supposed to be odds-on to win the thing (OK, maybe not quite). The South Americans weren’t at their South Korea-destroying best but still created some reasonable opportunities and were kept at bay by a fine performance by opposing goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic. Until, that is, a superbly worked goal from Neymar lit up the game in the first half of extra-time and looked to have set Brazil on course for the semi-finals, where they would, as it turns, have met arch-rivals Argentina.

But it wasn’t to be. Bruno Petkovic’s deflected effort drew Croatia level with just three minutes of extra-time remaining and the Brazilians’ world came crashing down as Rodrygo and Marquinhos missed in the shoot-out, while the Croats converted all four of their spot-kicks.

Today's 2022 Qatar World Cup schedule

I have some bad news for you. After today, you’ll have to wait three whole days (until Tuesday) for more 2022 World Cup action.

Luckily, I also have good news! There are two matches for you to enjoy today, which both promise to be absolute crackers.

Here’s how things are looking today:

 

Morocco   vs   Portugal: Al Thumama Stadium, kick-off at 10am ET

England vs   ​​​​​​​France: Al Bayt Stadium, kick-off at 2pm

 

We’ll also have live coverage of that England vs France game a little later on. Could the winner of the tournament come from that one? I think there’s a chance…

​​​​​​​

Morocco vs Portugal

Hello and welcome: Morocco vs Portugal

Are you ready for some more Qatar 2022 World Cup quarter-final action? Of course you are!

Thanks for joining me (Roddy) for the first of today’s two quarter-finals. We have Morocco vs Portugal up first for you today: can the Atlas Lions take their ‘surprise package’ status even further and qualify for the semi-finals?

CanPortugal build on their superb round-of-16 performance (more on that later) and actually win the tournament? We’ll find out soon enough!

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