Youssef En-Nesyri of Morocco soars high to head the ball and score the team’s first goal during Morocco-Portugal quarterfinal at the World Cup in Qatar on December 10, 2022.
Morocco isn’t done yet at the 2022 World Cup. The pride of Africa and the Arab world defeated yet another European powerhouse to reach the semifinals with a 1-0 victory over Portugal.
Portugal came in favored to win and dominated possession the entire game. But Morocco once again found a way to win at this World Cup in Qatar.
The game’s only goal came just before halftime in the 42nd minute when Morocco’s Yahya Attiat-Allah lofted a ball in front of the Portugal goal and Youssef En-Nesyri soared high and headed it down past the keeper. En-Nesyri is the first Moroccan player to score at two World Cups.
Morocco’s defense sparkled once again – particularly the sensational play of goalkeeper Yassine “Bono” Bounou. None of Morocco’s opponents this World Cup — Croatia, Belgium, Canada, Spain or Portugal — has scored a goal (the one credited to Canada was an own goal by Morocco).
Morocco is the first Arab country to go this deep into a World Cup and, now, the first African country to reach the semifinals of a World Cup. Across Doha – and the Arab world – fans have turned out in force to cheer for their Cinderella team.
Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal (R) reacts on the bench during the 2022 World Cup quarterfinal match against Morocco on December 10, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.
Buda Mendes/Getty Images
For a second straight match, star Cristiano Ronaldo started the game on the bench for Portugal. The 37-year-old is one of the finest to ever play the sport but the aging star hasn’t been his usual dominant self at this tournament (he hasn’t scored a single goal). His replacement Gonçalo Ramos, who scored three goals against Switzerland, didn’t make much of a mark. Ronaldo was substituted into the game in the 51st minute.
It was the third time Portugal reached the quarterfinals (it had won its last two appearances in 1966 and 2006).
Morocco awaits the winner of Saturday’s late game between France and Germany to see who it will play in the seminfinals on Wednesday.