Morocco produced an incredible performance in the quarterfinal of the 2022 Fifa World Cup as they knocked out Portugal with a 1-0 win on Saturday.
Youssef En-Nesyri’s goal late in the first half remained the sole difference between the two sides, as Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal endured a disappointing end to their campaign.
Ronaldo had started from bench yet again in the quarterfinal and came on early in the second half but failed to break the deadlock for the side.
This is Morocco’s maiden appearance in the semifinals of the Fifa World Cup, and the side will face one of England and defending champions France for a place in the final of the edition.
The Atlas Lions have also become the first-ever African country to reach the last four of the Mundial.
In the 42nd minute, En-Nesyri leaped above the Portugal defenders to meet a Yahya Attiat-Allah cross, getting just enough of his head to the ball to tip it past goalkeeper Diogo Costa, who misread its flight and crashed into his own defender.
Portugal, meanwhile, struggled to break through the Moroccan defence, Bruno Fernandes coming closest with a shot off the bar shortly after Morocco’s goal.
Ronaldo came off the bench six minutes after the break but was unable to help his team avoid defeat, as he couldn’t register a shot on target throughout his stay.
At 37, this was quite likely the last World Cup appearance for Cristiano Ronaldo; he had scored in Portugal’s opening game of the World Cup against South Korea, which had made him the first male footballer to score in five World Cup editions. However, Portugal’s World Cup campaign was marred with controversies surrounding Ronaldo, particularly after the player was benched in the side’s Round of 16 match against Switzerland.
For Morocco, however, the dream run continues even as the side had to face multiple setbacks throughout their match against Portugal. In the second half, one of their main players and captain, Romain Saiss was stretchered off the field and remains doubtful for the side’s remainder of the campaign. In injury time, Walid Cheddira was given a red card, meaning he will miss the semifinal.