Morocco defeated first African team Portugal in World Cup semi-finals

Morocco defeated Portugal to become the first African nation to reach the World Cup semi-finals.

You can hear that sound in celebrations in Marrakesh, Casablanca and all over Morocco.

Full match replay

Youssef N’Nesiri’s first-half header was enough for Morocco to sit back and allow Portugal plenty of the ball, but Bruno Fernandes hit the bar, smashing another over, Joao Felix and Cristiano Ronaldo (off the bench) both. Denied by the brilliant Yassin Bounou in goal for Morocco.

Substitute Walid Chedira was sent off late on for two yellow cards, but Morocco blew the final whistle at the Al Tumama Stadium amid incredible displays as they have now beaten Spain in the last 16 and Portugal in the quarter-finals.

Morocco boss Walid Regragui is the first African coach to reach the quarter-finals of a World Cup, and he is heading to the semi-finals within months of taking charge of Morocco. The 22nd-ranked team in the world beat a star-studded Portugal as Cristiano Ronaldo left the pitch in tears at the final whistle.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

As for Morocco, they will now face the winner of France against England in the World Cup semi-finals as the Atlas Lions have kept four clean sheets in five games and have incredible momentum into the final four.

Atlas lions are history-making intensity, resistance, confidence

Morocco’s match was shortened to 90 minutes. Roared on by their huge following in Qatar, they were a total team unit and knew exactly what they were doing every second of the game. Their flair players delivered class when it mattered, they were slick on the counter and they were well organized and industrious. They had 27 percent of the possession and never lost control of the game. There were heroes throughout their team and there was total belief that they could beat Portugal. They did. History is made.

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Stars of the show

Sophian Amrabat: Another display of intensity, hard-hitting and leadership in midfield. What a match he ran.

Yassin Bounau: Stopped well to deny Felix and kept another clean sheet.

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How to watch Morocco vs Portugal live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10 a.m. ET, Saturday December 10
Arena: Al Thumama Stadium, Doha
TV Channels in Spanish: Telemundo
Streaming in Spanish: Peacock (All 64 Matches)

What a defense from Bounou! He denies Joao Felix’s effort from the edge of the box.

Fantastic counters from Morocco whenever the opportunity arises. Their injured side is firm. There is more than 10 minutes of regulation left. Can they endure to make history!?

The second half was underway and Morocco came very close to securing second place. Hakim Ziyech scored a wonderful cross from a free kick, but Diogo Costa saved it as everyone missed.

Bruno Fernandes hit the crossbar at a ridiculous angle. Closer to Bruno’s amazing goal!

GOALLLL! Morocco ahead. It was coming. Yusuf en-Nesiri’s title.

So close! Joa Felix’s deflected shot loops towards the top corner but flies over.

Morocco were solid but Portugal had a few half chances.

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Major storylines, players to watch out for

Bounou – pronounced Bono on his jersey – was sensational in penalties, but Morocco’s defenders restricted Spain to just one shot on target. Romain Saiz was particularly impressive in the middle of the back line, while Akraf Hakimi and Nousair Masroui were spread wide and defended forward.

Portugal included Goncalo Ramos in the starting XI for Cristiano Ronaldo and the 21-year-old centre-forward scored three goals and added an assist against Switzerland. Bruno Fernandes was fantastic for Portugal, while Ruben Neves and Rafael Leo managed to get through the match with minor supporting roles and should be rested if called upon by Fernando Santos, who is eyeing a World Cup to go with his Euro crown.

Morocco Fast Facts

Current FIFA World Ranking: 22
World Cup Titles: 0
World Cup Appearances: 6
How they qualified: Automatically qualified from CAF
Coach: Vahid Halilhodzic
Key Players: Achraf Hakimi, Yassin Bounou, Youssef N-Nesiri, Romain Saiz

Portugal Fast Facts

Current FIFA World Ranking: 9
World Cup Titles: 0
World Cup Appearances: 8
How they qualified: Qualified from UEFA through the playoffs
Coach: Fernando Santos
Key Players: Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruben Neves, Bruno Fernandes, Joao Cancel

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