The battle for the FIFA World Cup semi-final spot between Portugal and Morocco last December 10 shocked soccer fans as Cristiano Ronaldo is once again eluded by the World Cup trophy.
Morocco managed to win against Portugal with a score of 1-0.
According to OKBET, the European powerhouse was favoured to advance to the semis. However, the Moroccans found a way to beat all the odds.
The match’s only score came in minute 42 when Yahya Attiat-Allah hurled the ball towards their opponent’s goal. Youssef En-Nesyri then flew, headbutting it past the goalkeeper’s defence—the first Moroccan to score at two World Cups.
Portugal is the second powerhouse to be defeated by Morocco in this year’s tournament. They first eliminated Spain through their tremendous effort on the defensive side.
Their victory and superb defence can also be credited to goalkeeper Yassine “Bono” Bounou. He did not let their opponents—Croatia, Belgium, Spain and even Portugal get a single point.
Morocco is the first African country to pass the World Cup quarterfinals.
They will face France this December 15.
Cristiano Ronaldo Underperforms
Ronaldo was not his usual self as they met with Morocco last Friday. Partly because Portugal’s head coach, Fernando Santos, put the aging star on the bench—the second time he has done to the team captain in this series.
The 37-year-old superstar entered the game in the 51st minute. Gonçalo Ramos—the player that scored three of Portugal’s six over Switzerland—also underperformed.
Moreover, before going up against Morocco, the European superstar announced his decision to leave Manchester United days after he ridiculed the management and accused the club of betraying him.
Ronaldo’s only goal in this tournament was during their matchup against Ghana, scoring a penalty kick and becoming the first male player to ever score at five World Cups. He now has a total of eight goals in 22 World Cup games.
After the game, Portugal coach Santos stood firm in his decision to bench Ronaldo during the first half. He said that he chose the players that crushed Switzerland to face Morocco.
“I do not regret,” Santos stressed during Saturday’s news conference. “It wouldn’t change anything; in terms of the team, I can’t be thinking with my heart.”
“I used the team that played really well against Switzerland, and there was no reason to change it,” he added. “The strategic decision that I had to make was one of the hardest, but I can’t think with my heart. I have to think with my head.”
However, he clarified that he still believed in Ronaldo’s prowess as one of the greatest strikers the world has ever seen.
“It’s not that Ronaldo is no longer a great player, that has nothing to do with it.”