Gone are the hopes and opportunities Ronaldo cs. to win the 2022 World Cup. Unexpectedly, Portugal had to be kicked out of the competition and failed to reach the semi-finals. Morocco, which was initially not taken into account, turned out to have a potential for victory that was hard to beat. In the match that was held on December 10, 2022 at the Al Thumama stadium, Portugal was eliminated with a score of 1-0.
Portugal’s elimination against Morocco was a big surprise at the end of the 2022 World Cup quarter-finals. In the last knockout phase, Morocco also caused an uproar after eliminating Spain in the decisive match. Morocco is really crazy this time. They appear beyond predictions. Meanwhile, Portugal, which appeared with support from Cristiano Ronaldo, was unable to do much. Portugal was subdued and surrendered. They were unable to catch up which is actually very thin.
The presence and performance of Morocco which is very reliable is one of the things that is now being highlighted. Even though they were once classified as a weak team because they came from the African confederation, they managed to show their identity. In the previous group stage, Morocco made it to the top 16 as group F winners.
And in the round of 16, they were able to hold Spain to a draw so the match had to be decided on penalties. As a result, Morocco successfully executed 3 goals while the Matador team had 0. The achievements have not stopped there. Now, after thwarting Portugal with a score of 1-0 in the quarter-finals, they made it to the semifinals.
Morocco’s success in reaching the semifinals of the 2022 World Cup is new history. Morocco became the first team from the African continent to qualify for the last 4. The Atlas lion will soon resume the fight. If they win again, they will automatically reach the final round.
As a team that was previously not very popular, at this year’s World Cup Morocco appeared with unique characteristics. Not only unique, the characteristics of Morocco which often play ultra defensively make them survive through very fierce competition. By focusing on defending and counterattacking, Morocco was able to make its opponents run out of ideas and energy.
In addition, Morocco has players who are easily intimidated. Therefore, even though Belgium, Spain and Portugal were more dominant when they faced Morocco, they were the ones who had to lose. This, once again, is due to the defensive line and the players’ fighting spirit which is not easy to tear down. The combination of brilliant tactics, tough player composition, and a stable squad mentality are the characteristics that make Morocco minimal defeats.
The Moroccan national team celebrates after defeating Portugal
Summary of the match against Portugal
Throughout the decisive match in the quarterfinals, Portugal did appear to be more dominant. Nearly 80 percent of Portugal had the ball. Portugal also successfully released 11 dangerous shots which had threatened the Moroccan defense. Meanwhile, Morocco also had several good opportunities. They managed to terrorize Portugal’s goal with 9 shots.
From the early minutes, opportunity after good opportunity approached Portugal. However, the presence of Yassine Bounou as the Moroccan goalkeeper managed to frustrate the dangerous attacks created by Portugal. Facing such an aggressive enemy, Morocco did not remain silent. They also repeatedly managed to trouble Portugal’s defense by sending counterattacks.
Too focused on scoring goals, Portugal was caught off guard. The vacancy in Portugal’s precarious line was put to good use by Attiyat-Allah. The cross he sent for En-Nesyri was headed in a high and unstoppable jump. The fatal attack from the penalty box tore Portugal’s goal and gave 1 goal for Morocco.
In the second half, Portugal continued to dominate. Ronaldo, who entered in the 51st minute, is expected to bring help. However, Bounou’s good performance managed to thwart Ronaldo’s intimidation. Fernando Santos continued to maneuver but the goal was not created. Even though they had to lose one player due to a red card in 90+3 minutes, Morocco was still difficult to beat. Finally, the score lasted 1-0 until the end of the second half. This result led Morocco to advance to the semifinals while Portugal had to be eliminated.