Morocco has become the first-ever African nation to reach the World Cup semi-finals after beating Portugal 1-0 on Sunday, December 10, 2022
Youssef En-Nesyri was the hero as he powered home an incredible header with just minutes remaining of the first half.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s expression while sitting on the Portugal bench summed it up. It was a header he’d have been proud of.
Ronaldo did come off the bench within minutes of the second half starting.
However, he wasn’t able to spark any sort of comeback for his side in what was surely his final World Cup appearance.
Portugal did put Morocco under enormous pressure but just couldn’t find a way past an impressive defence.
That’s despite Morocco being dismissed to 10 men during the eight minutes of injury time. Walid Cheddira picked up two yellow cards in quick succession but Morocco saw out the remaining five minutes of injury time with a man less.
Morocco have conceded just one goal in the entire tournament – a Nayef Aguerd own goal during their 2-1 victory over Canada.
Morocco will now face the winner of England and France, who face off in the fourth and final quarter final in a few hours time.
Before the game, Morocco boss Walid Regragui suggested the whole of the African continent was behind his side.
“We have nothing to lose,” Regragui told reporters on Friday. “The challenge is to do as well as we did in the previous games.
“We want to show that Africa deserves to be here, Morocco deserves to be here. We have a whole people behind us, a continent behind us, and the Arab world behind us. That’s a lot of energy behind us. We’re going to try and do everything we can.”