Morocco vs Portugal LIVE: World Cup 2022 team news and line-ups amid Cristiano Ronaldo decision

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World Cup: Lionel Messi and Argentina squeeze into semi-finals as Croatia stun Brazil

Morocco play Portugal in the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Qatar and with history on the line. Morocco can become the first team from Africa to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup if they beat the Portuguese, who are favourites to progress to the final four following their brilliant 6-1 victory over Switzerland in the last 16.

Morocco will be sure to put up more of a fight after they battled to a 0-0 draw with Spain, before holding their nerve in the penalty shoot-out to spark wild celebrations in the country and Arab communities across the world.

Walid Regragui’s side have already been one of the stories of the World Cup but the manager now wants his team to make history in Qatar. “We have already achieved great things but we feel it’s not enough,” he said. “We want to go further.”

Portugal manager Fernando Santos, meanwhile, made the huge decision to drop captain Cristiano Ronaldo in the last 16, only for the 37-year-old’s replacement Goncalo Ramos to score a stunning hat-trick in the 6-1 win. Santos now faces another big call as to whether to recall Ronaldo or stick with the 21-year-old sensation.

Follow live updates from Morocco vs Portugal below, with the winner facing either England or France in the semi-finals

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World Cup 2022: Morocco vs Portgual

The winner of this tie will face the winner of the highly-anticipated quarter-final clash between France and England this evening.

The current World Cup holders are the favourites to beat Gareth Southgate’s men but this is probably the most even affair of the four quarter-finals.

No team has scored more goals at this World Cup than England while they have also been rock-solid defensively. However, their opponents have Kylian Mbappe, Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann as well as the valuable experience of getting through this stage of the tournament.

It should be an extremely intriguing and exciting contest.

Michael Jones10 December 2022 13:45

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Goncalo Ramos fills Cristiano Ronaldo’s shoes with dream World Cup hat-trick

Prior to Portugal’s World Cup last-16 match against Switzerland, Cristiano Ronaldo had played 13,250 minutes of international football, approximately nine days more than the 36 minutes played by Goncalo Ramos. Ronaldo had also scored 109 goals in 159 international matches, including at five World Cups, while Ramos had scored once in three substitute appearances.

But by the end of his first start for his country, as Portugal cruised into the quarter-finals of the World Cup with a thumping 6-1 win over Switzerland, Ramos had scored three more goals in the knockout stages of the tournament than Ronaldo has managed across his entire career. The 21-year-old’s sensational hat-trick will go down as one of great breakout displays in World Cup history.

The decision made by Portugal head coach Fernardo Santos to drop Ronaldo was a seismic one. Whether it was due to form or for disciplinary reasons, following the reaction to his substitution against South Korea, it was a decision that required every inch of a strong and experienced managerial backbone. That much was proved by the army of photographers camped outside the Portugal dugout, and as Santos ignored the screaming hordes and their shrieks when Ronaldo was shown on the big screen.

Michael Jones10 December 2022 13:42

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Regragui proud of Morocco’s achievements

Morocco have lit up the World Cup during this tournament not with their style of play which has been conservative at the best of times but with their doggedness to win and make history doing.

“I’m proud of my country and my team,” said head coach Walid Regragui. “You feel the positive vibe and everyone is acting like we are all part of the same family.

“People are identifying with us and we are uniting Moroccan people. That is more important than money and titles, but we are here to win games and go as far as we can in this tournament.

“We have Africa behind us and Arabic people, that’s important, but we are playing first for Morocco.”

Michael Jones10 December 2022 13:38

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Today at the World Cup: England set for France quarter-final showdown

England face the first big test of their World Cup credentials when they take on defending champions France in the quarter-finals on Saturday evening.

Gareth Southgate’s men are bidding to reach the last four for the third major tournament in a row, while Morocco can break new ground for African teams at the World Cup if they beat Portugal.

Friday saw the biggest shock of the tournament so far as Croatia knocked out Brazil, while Argentina edged past the Netherlands, with both matches going to penalty shoot-outs.

Michael Jones10 December 2022 13:34

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Erik ten Hag found out Cristiano Ronaldo wanted to leave Manchester United in TV interview

Ronaldo singled out the United boss for criticism on TalkTV, saying he had no respect for Ten Hag and felt betrayed by the club.

United responded by bringing Ronaldo’s second spell at Old Trafford to a hasty conclusion and Ten Hag has now opened up on his own feelings about the Portuguese star.

Michael Jones10 December 2022 13:30

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World Cup 2022: Morocco vs Portugal

Reaching the quarter-finals marks a best-ever performance at the World Cup for Morocco. The country had only once previously progressed to the knockout stages, on their second appearance in 1986.

Can they go one further and get past Portugal this afternoon?

Michael Jones10 December 2022 13:26

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World Cup 2022: Morocco vs Portugal

Walid Regragui says that the tournament has been difficult for his squad of players but that their historic results keeps the Moroccan side pushing forward.

“They are tired and we have injures, but we aren’t going to complain.” said the head coach, “You need everyone if you are going to go far.

“No matter who plays, we will give our best and not make excuses.”

Michael Jones10 December 2022 13:22

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World Cup 2022: Morocco vs Portugal

Argentina into World Cup semi-finals after penalty shootout win over Netherlands

As Emiliano Martinez’s spell persists, and Lionel Messi continues to conjure magic, Louis van Gaal’s charm at last wears off. But only just. Van Gaal enthrallingly and admirably pushed his Netherlands team and Argentina to the very limit, coming back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 and so close to the most fitting of victories.

It wasn’t to be, but only after a frankly unbelievable amount of drama and because Martinez remains the master at penalty kicks. The goalkeeper again ended up Argentina’s true hero, even on a night when Messi scored and produced one of his most inspired World Cup moments.

That means this may be the last match of Van Gaal’s career, but what a game. Qatar’s sportswashing now has an epic to go with so many great moments.

Michael Jones10 December 2022 13:18

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World Cup 2022: Morocco vs Portugal

Yesterday’s quarter-finals had pretty much everything. Late drama in both matches, shock victories, penalty shootouts, tears and cheers.

Lionel Messi advanced to the semi-finals, Neymar didn’t. Here are the stories of the first two quarter-finals staring with Croatia vs Brazil:

Michael Jones10 December 2022 13:14

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World Cup 2022: Morocco vs Portugal

Not as simple a call as it is on paper, given Morocco’s stirring run to the last eight. Portugal only narrowly beat them in 2018 – courtesy of Ronaldo’s solitary goal – and another tight affair is likely here. However, the Portuguese are fresher and are full of confidence, so they should sneak into the semi-finals. Morocco 1-2 Portugal

Draw (after 90 minutes only) – 27/10

Jamie Braidwood10 December 2022 13:10

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