Now it’s the African groups to shock the world as they have fun Morocco’s gorgeous win over Portugal to change into the primary African nation in World Cup historical past to qualify for the semi-finals, the Australian Related Press reviews.
The Moroccans delivered a seminal second within the practically 100-year historical past of soccer’s greatest match, with a 1-0 win to finish Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal’s World Cup dream.
Ronaldo, slightly surprisingly, was once more relegated to the substitutes bench and was powerless to alter the course of the match after approaching early within the second half, after Youssef En-Nesyri headed Morocco right into a shock Forty second-minute lead.
Having seen match favourites Brazil knocked out by Croatia on the day before today, Morocco’s victory was simply the newest large shock within the first World Cup staged within the Center East.
Ronaldo was in tears as he was seemingly the primary Portugal participant to stroll off the pitch, barely noticing a pitch invader that briefly mobbed him as he headed straight down the tunnel in devastation.
For the 37-year-old – whose affect on the pitch for membership and nation is undoubtedly on the wane – it’s prone to be his final look in a World Cup.
Nevertheless, the day belonged to Morocco and their squad of history-making gamers, who tossed their coach into the air and waved their nation’s flag as they linked arms in entrance of celebrating followers on the finish of the match.
Morocco goalkeeper Yassine Bounou was among the many standouts in a resolute defence from the African aspect, which once more proved extraordinarily troublesome to interrupt down, preserving Spain scoreless within the spherical of 16.
“Pinch me, I’m dreaming,” Bounou mentioned after the match. “Morocco are able to face anybody on the planet. We now have modified the mentality of the era coming after us. They’ll know Moroccan gamers can create miracles.”
Portugal started the match having averaged three objectives in Qatar, however regardless of having nearly all of the ball in opposition to Morocco, they couldn’t make it rely.
Eight gamers scored for Fernando Santos’ workforce on the World Cup, and it was the flawed second for nearly all of them to have an off day.
Fernandes hit the crossbar, whereas Joao Felix and Goncalo Ramos each had good possibilities, however the slick attacking swagger that had torn Switzerland to items was lacking.
Bernardo Silva was sloppy on the ball, and Fernandes was typically crowded out; Dalot was a menace from right-back in opposition to South Korea and Switzerland however solely often discovered the room to get ahead.
Portugal has been each good and dangerous at this match, and this was a really dangerous day, though Morocco deserves nice credit score for making it so onerous to create something of observe.
En-Nesyri’s Forty second-minute winner continued an unbelievable run that has generated an outpouring of pleasure within the Arab world, inspiring shows of Arab identification from followers in numerous international locations.
Africa can also be rejoicing, with Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002) and Ghana (2010) all reaching the quarter-finals however unable to take the following step.
Morocco has damaged via and now faces a semi-final in opposition to the holders France, who beat England 2-1 within the later sport.
For the second, cheers to Morocco.
Their extraordinary slice of historical past is being celebrated throughout the soccer world. Really, what a stunner!
Suresh Nair is an award-winning sports activities journalist who can also be a certified worldwide coach and worldwide referee teacher
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