The 2022 FIFA World Cup continued Saturday on FOX with Morocco taking down Portugal, 1-0, at Qatar’s Al-Thumama Stadium in the tournament’s penultimate quarterfinal match. Morocco became the first African nation to ever reach the World Cup semifinals.
Portugal superstar and team captain Cristiano Ronaldo was relegated to the bench from the start for the team’s second straight game. He took the field in the second half after Portugal fell behind, but wasn’t enough to provide the spark Portugal needed to pull off a come-from-behind win.
The all-time record between these two teams in the World Cup is now 2-1, with Morocco having won in 1986 and 2022.
There is one more semifinal spot up for grabs Saturday, as England takes on France next (2 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app). The winner will advance to play Morocco in the semifinals on Wednesday.
Here are the top plays!
6′: What could have been
Youssef En-Nesyri was this close to putting Morocco on the board early, but his header was a bit too high.
He tried another header in the 26th minute, but that one missed just to the right, and things remained scoreless.
Portugal’s João Félix made a big move near the half-hour mark, taking a shot from outside the box, but it was blocked.
Moments later, Portugal defender Raphaël Guerreiro tried a through ball, but Gonçalo Ramos was caught offside.
Finally, En-Nesyri was able to connect with the net, sinking a header to give Morocco a 1-0 lead ahead of halftime.
Youssef En-Nesyri scores on a RIDICULOUS header for Morocco in the 2022 FIFA World Cup | Every Angle
Morocco’s Youssef En-Nesyri made a ridiculous header to score against Portugal in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
It was the Morocco men’s national team’s first World Cup goal in the knockout stage.
45′: Off the bar!
Bruno Fernandes was inches away from evening things up ahead of the break, but his attempt was no good.
52′: Ronaldo checks in
Ronaldo entered the game in the 52nd minute, replacing Rúben Neves.
58′: Can’t connect
Ramos attempted to get Portugal on the board with a header in the second half, but it missed to the right.
60′: No quit
Morocco’s defense was relentless as the second half unfolded.
Morocco defender Achraf Dari was shown the first yellow card of the match in the 70th minute, however.
82′: Save of the game
Morocco keeper Bono came up with a massive save late in the second half on a wild combination involving Ronaldo and Félix to keep Portugal off the board.
Elsewhere, Portugal defender Diogo Dalot exited due to an injury, and Vitinha picked up the game’s second yellow card.
90’+1′: Another one!
Ronaldo made a last-ditch attempt to get Portugal on the board in stoppage time, but he wasn’t able to connect after Bono came up with another massive save for Morocco.
90’+3′: Seeing red
Morocco’s Walid Cheddira picked up back-to-back fouls in stoppage time to draw a late red card.
90’+7′: Portugal ousted
It all came down to the final moment when Pepe took the last shot of the game, but the Portugal defender came up short.
90’+9′: History made
Just like that, things ended 1-0, and Morocco punched its ticket to the semifinals for the first time in history.
Startling lineup alert
Portuguese star Ronaldo was relegated to the bench for Portugal’s second straight game after being replaced in the starting XI for Tuesday’s match against Switzerland by 21-year-old Ramos — who scored a hat trick in Portugal’s resounding 6-1 victory — before eventually entering for Ramos in the 73rd minute.
That was the first time the 37-year-old striker didn’t start a World Cup match since 2006. Reports surfaced soon after that Ronaldo told manager Fernando Santos that he would quit after finding out that he would not start for the national team — a report the Portuguese Football Federation since denied in a statement.
On Friday, his manager spoke about all the discussion around Ronaldo’s status, saying, “I think it’s high time to leave Cristiano Ronaldo alone. In every news conference, 90% of the questions are about Cristiano Ronaldo.”
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