More reaction and analysis
Match report: Morocco 1-0 Portugal
World Cup quarter-final: “They had done it. Legends now, the roar tore right through everyone here and way, way, beyond. History is made and it is made of this. Morocco have are the first African team to make it to a World Cup semi-final.” Sid Lowe reports from Doha and as always, his pristine prose is well worth reading.
Sofyan Amrabat: Defensive midfielders don’t tend to get a lot of love in minute-by-minute reports, due in no small part to our need to highlight the activities of more glamourous players. However, a tip of the hat to Amrabat, who put in another immense shift today. He was quite simply outstanding, arguably even better than against Spain.
Romain Saiss: It’s a slightly bittersweet victory for the former Wolves defender who currently plies his trade at Besiktas. Saiss was stretchered off during the second half after finally succumbing to the hamstring injury he picked up towards the end of his team’s second round win over Spain. One suspects there is zero chance of him playing any further part in this tournament but he can be incredibly proud of what he has achieved.
Awwwwww! Portugal reserve goalkeeper Jose Sa is out on the pitch with an inconsolable child, who I’m guessing is his son, weeping uncontrollably in his arms. Hakim Ziyech and a few other Morocco players briefly rein in their celebrations to console the young fellow.
While cute, would it be callous of me to state publicly that I would have found it funny if they’d gone into a collective fist-pumping frenzy and told both father and son to “Get it right up ya!”
Ronaldo watch: Portugal’s captain is nowhere to be seen, having left the pitch and marched off down the tunnel in tears moments after the final whistle. We’re unlikely to see him grace the World Cup stage again. Indeed, this could be the last time we see him in a Portugal shirt.
Full time: Morocco 1-0 Portugal
Morocco advance: In front of a jubilant crowd comprised largely of their compatriots, Morocco’s players celebrate jubilantly. They finished the game well under the cosh but earn a place in the semi-finals courtesy of Youssef En Nesyri’s goal just before half-time. They will play France or England in the semi-final and will take a hell of a lot of beating no matter which one of the European sides earns the right to play them.
MOROCCO ARE IN THE WORLD CUP SEMI-FINAL
It’s all over! Portugal are out and Morocco become the first African team in history to make a World Cup semi-final. They have triumphed by the only goal of the game and were more than worthy winners. Congratulations to them.
90+8 min: Another Leao cross into the Morocco box. Pepe gets his head to it at the far post but sends a bullet header wide. That looks another terrible miss but it’s possible a defender got a touch.
90+5 min: Rafael Leao gets on the ball and sends a cross into the box. It’s headed clear and Morocco attack on the break again. Somebody – I think it’s Jabrane! – is put clean through on goal but shoots feebly at Costa. That’s a shocking miss!!!
Red card: Cheddira is sent off
Morocco down to 10 men. On as a sub, Walid Cheddira is sent off after picking up his second yellow in as many minutes. This time it’s for a dumb foul on Joao Felix.
90+2 min: We’re into eight minutes of added time and Bono is forced to smother a through ball at Ronaldo’s feet. This is desperate stuff from Portugal and Fernades looks frantic with panic. Cheddira is booked for a foul on Pepe.
90 min: Another ball into the Morocco box is dealt with comfortably by El Yamiq. Morocco attack on the break and Cheddira, who is offside, sends a lame effort wide. He had a team-mate up in support behind him and should it left it to him.
89 min: Portugal keep plugging away but a mix-up between Fernandes and Joao Felix leads to another attack breaking down as the ball rolls wide for a goal-kick.
88 min: Free-kick for Morocco, halfway inside their own half. Needless to say, they’re in no big rush to take it.
85 min: Cristiano Ronaldo and chums are looking increasingly frantic and now appeal for a penalty as Jawad El-Yamiq appears to head the ball off his own arm. The ref is having none of it and those in VAR Towers don’t disagree.
84 min: From just inside the Morocco penalty area Joao Felix curls a shot goalwards and it’s saved brilliantly by Bono, who gets a strong hand to it.
82 min: Sofiane Boufal and Hakim Ziyech are removed from the battlefield, replaced by Yahya Jabrane and Zakaria Aboukhlal. Boufal dawdles off and is hurried along by the ref.
81 min: Pepe sticks a leg in to deny a Walid Cheddira gallop down the inside-right.
79 min: With Ziyech still off the pitch and Morocco down to 10 men, Ricardo Horta comes on for Portugal in attack. Diogo Dalot makes way.
78 min: It’s going to be a fascinating final 15 minutes, with Portugal subjecting Morocco to relentless pressure with an increasingly mentally and physically exhausted Morocco side trying to defend doggedly while attacking on the break when they can. We get a break in play as Hakim Ziyech goes down injured.
75 min: Morocco go on a rare break and go close. Cheddira busts a gut to get up the pitch and collect a pass inside but is unable to get a shot off under pressure from a back-pedaling defender.
74 min: It’s kitchen sink time for Portugal who are sending ball after ball into the Morocco box. A corner is sent to the far post, where Joao Felix is lurking but Bono clears with a punch to concede another corner.
70 min: Portugal have brought on Rafael Leao and Vitinha as Morocco switch to a back five. Otavio and Goncalo Ramos make way.
68 min: Bruno Fernandes sends a cross to the far post with the outside of his right boot, trying to pick out Ronaldo. Bono claims comfortably.
65 min: Morocco double-substitution. They bolster their backline, taking off goalscorer Youssef En-Nesyri and bringing on a centre-back in Badr Benoun. Midfielder Selim Amallah also makes way, with Walid Cheddira coming on. He missed a couple of very presentable chances against Spain, as I recall.
63 min: From the edge of the Morocco penalty area, Bruno Fernades takes a touch and then sends a rasping drive inches over the bar.
60 min: Portugal are piling on the pressure but Morocco are defending stoutly, as they have throughout this tournament. Diogo Dalot is dispossessed by an excellent challenge from Yahia Attiyat Allah, who came in as a replacement for this game and has been outstanding at left-back for the African side.
59 min: There’s a rare touch for Ramos, who connects with a cross to send a header across the face of the Morocco goal and wide.
57 min: No he can’t. Saiss is carried off on his shield (well, a stretcher) and that’s surely his tournament over. He’s been an absolute warrior for Morocco and takes the applause of the fans. Achraf Dari replaces him.
56 min: After good work down the flank by Sofiane Boufal, Azzedine Ounahi sends a wild shot high over the bar and possibly out of the stadium. There’s a break in play while Saiss is tended to. He can’t carry on, surely?
55 min: A Diogo Dalot cross from the right ends up in the hands of Bono, who anticipates Goncalo Ramos’s near post run.
54 min: One of Morocco’s walking wounded along with two of their midfielders, Romain Saiss looks to be struggling with his damaged hamstring. He’s visibly limping and may not be long for this game.
52 min: Ronaldo is quick into action down the left flank, slinging a cross into the Morocco penalty area. Bono claims comfortably.
51 min: Portugal double-substitution: Cristiano Ronaldo and Joao Cancelo on for Rubben Neves and Raphael Guerreiro. That didn’t take long.
49 min: Morocco win a free-kick wide on the right in line with the front edge of the penalty area. Ziyech sends the ball into the mixer, where El-Yamiq gets the faintest of touches at the near post. Diogo Costa somewhat redeems himself by parrying brilliantly from point-blank range.
47 min: In criticising Diogo Costa’s error for the Morocco goal, I almost certainly didn’t give Youssef En-Nouri enough credit for what was a magnificent header. It was a towering leap and he did superbly to steer the ball on target.
Second half: Morocco 1-0 Portugal
46 min: Away we go for what could be a cracking second half. There are on changes in personnel on either side yet but it’s worth bearing in mind that at least three Morocco players were very heavily strapped up during their pre-match warm-up.
That penalty shout: Coisty was correct. Bruno Fernandes went to ground theatrically under a nothing “challenge” from Achraf Hakimi, who barely touched him and certainly didn’t foul him.
Ronaldo watch: As is customary when anything significant happens in a Portugal match in which he is not playing, the camera cut to Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench moments after En-Nesyri scored. He looked decidedly unimpressed and was shaking his head in disbelief, presumably aghast at the goalkeeping of Diogo Costa, who seems to be the other conspicuously weak link in this Portugal team.
Half-time: Morocco 1-0 Portugal
Peep! Referee Facundo Tello draws the first half to a close and is immediately surrounded by irate Portuguese players who feel they should have had a penalty for a foul on Fernandes not long after En-Nesyri had opened the scoring for Morocco. I’ll need to see that one again, if I’m honest because there was so much going on. However, on ITV co-comms, Ally McCoist says no spot-kick should have been forthcoming and that’s almost certainly good enough for me. Morocco lead at the break and we have a terrific second half in store.
45+3 min: Crikey! It’s all going on here! Portugal have a penalty appeal turned down after Fernades goes down in the Morocco box, then the team in white break upfield in a three-on-three from which they simply must score, only for left-back Yahia Attiyat Allah shooting well wide when the Portuguese goal was gaping and he only had Diogo Jota to beat.
45+1 min: Bruno Fernades tries his luck with an audacious volley from wide on the right. The ball bounces off the cross-bar and out to safety.
44 min: Morocco worked the ball down the left flank and Yahia Attiyat Allah send a looping cross into the Portugal penalty area. Diogo Costa hesitated before coming to claim the ball but was beaten in the air by En-Nesyri, who got in a massive leap to head past the hapless goalkeeper.
GOAL! Morocco 1-0 Portugal (En-Nesyri 43)
Morocco lead! Youssef En-Nesyri heads his country ahead but it’s something of a gift from Portugal goalkeeper Diogo Costa.
40 min: There’s a break in play as Portugal striker Goncalo Ramos receives treatment in the wake of a robust challenge from Azzedine Ounahi. He scored a hat-trick against Switzerland but has barely had a sniff of the ball so far this afternoon.
38 min: Speaking of confidence, Hakim Ziyech has just bamboozled two Portuguese press-merchants with a neat flick down by the touchlione to send Hakimi racing upfield. It was a delightful bit of showmanship which may earn him a nip on the ankles in the coming minutes.
36 min: Morocco are starting to dominate this game and are visibly growing in confidence after a good start. Sofiane Boufal has a pop from distance but his effort, which takes a slight nick off a defender, is fairly weak and straight down the throat of Portugal goalkeeper Diogo Costa.
34 min: Morocco attack down the left. Selim Amallah tries to connect with a pull-back from Yahia Attiyat Allah but the delivery is slightly behind him. He connects but sends a wild effort high and wide.
30 min: Oof! Joao Felix capitalises on a poor defensive header from Jamaq El Yamiq and lashes a shot goalwards from the edge of the penalty area. It takes a deflection off the defender and fizzes narrowly wide. Bono was hopelessly wrongfooted and it’s a let-off for Morocco.
28 min: Unsurprisingly, Morocco are giving Portugal plenty to think about and are looking pretty dangerous themselves. Their defence is terrific and contrary to the bleating of several of the Spanish players who lost to them in the last round, they have no shortage of decent options going forward.
26 min: Ziyech curls a cross into the Portugal box, where En-Nesyri leaps to try and steer the ball goalwards. He only manages to send it over the bar with his left shoulder.
24 min: Referee Facundo Tello gets busy on his whistle, peeping furiously after Bruno Fernandes contested a high ball with Bono, leaving the goalkeeper flat on his back. Fernando was well within his rights to go for that high ball, in my opinion, but Mr Tello seems to think otherwise. Protected species, etc, although Bono didn’t seem particularly fussed by the challenge because he won the ball.
23 min: From that corner, Morocco win yet another the ball going out off Fernandes as Boufal tried to dig out a cross. Portugal break upfield and Hakimi puts the ball out of play for a throw-in deep in Morocco territory under pressure from Felix.
22 min: Sofyan Amrabat plays the ball wide to Ziyech, whose attempted cross from the right is blocked. Corner for Morocco. From that, they win another.
20 min: The stadium now seems full, with ITV reporting from outside the ground that ticketless Morocco fans who were congregated outside might have been causing delays for those who did have the necessary paperwork.
18 min: Good work from Azzedine Ounahi, who advances upfield through the centre for Morocco on the counter. The ball is played wide to Hakim Ziyech, who cuts inside and pulls a low shot from distance well wide of the upright.
16 min: Otavio plays a lofted ball from deep over the top and it’s almost but not quite into the path of Goncalo Ramos. Bono is quick off his line to claim.
15 min: Achraf Hakimi lumps the ball long under pressure from the Morocco right-back position, ceding possession to Portugal inside their own half.
12 min: Portugal try to play through the lines but Otavio loses possession after receiving a pass along the deck from Pepe. It’s a foul and he wins his side a free-kick. Bruno Fernandes sends the ball into the penalty area and Morocco clear it at the second or third time of asking, with Achraf Hakimi forced to block a volley from Raphael Guerreiro as they do so.
10 min: Morocco get forward with Sofiane Boufal on the ball out on the left flank. The ball’s played in behind the Portugal defence but Diogo Costa is quick off his line to get down and claim it.
8 min: Portugal enjoy a spell of possession, soundtracked by a cacophony of jeers. Pepe plays a long diagonal towards Joao Felix but the winger loses possession.
6 min: Morocco’s first corner is an outswinger and Youssef El-Nesyri leaps to try and steer the ball inside the far post with his head. It’s a decent opportunity but he puts the ball over the bar and then his head in his hands. It’s a lively start.
5 min: Attiya-Allah escapes down the inside left and tries to drill in a cross. Diogo Dalot gets back brilliantly to block. He’s having a terrific tournament.
3 min: Every early Portuguese touch is being whistled and jeered by those Morocco fans who have made it into the stadium for the start of the game. Yahia Attiyat-Allah concedes an early free-kick out wide. The ball’s swung into the penalty area, where Joao Felix dives to get on the end of it. His effort from eight yards is on target but Bono saves and puts the ball out for a corner. Bruno Fernandes’s inswinger is cleared at the near post.
2 min: Morocco goalkeeper Bono, who had a wide beam of joy on his face as he sang his country’s national anthem before the game, gets an early touch, receiving the ball to feet before playing it to one of his centre-backs.
Morocco v Portugal is go!
1 min: Portugal get the ball rolling in a stadium that remains only half-full at kick-off. They play in white shirts, with a red stripe across the chest, white shorts and white socks. The players of Morocco wear red shirts, green shorts and red socks. Game on!
Not long now: With a ridiculous number of empty seats to be seen in the stadium and reports of hundreds, if not thousands of ticket-holding fans marooned outside and unable to get in for some reason or other, the teams march out on to the pitch. Here’s hoping those who have paid to get into this game are able to do so quickly and safely. Portugal’s fans are hugely outnumbered.
Today’s winners: Whoever triumphs in this quarter-final will face England or France for a place in the final of World Cup 2022. You may not have heard it mentioned around these parts, but Gareth Southgate’s men are in action against the French tonight. Scott Murray will be helming the minute-by-minute report of that particular game and it should go without saying that, whatever the outcome, we’ll have no end of post-match analysis and reaction from some of the best writers and podcasters in the business.
Morocco: Coach Walid Regragui has big aspirations on and off the pitch as uncharted territory of World Cup quarter-final beckons. Sid Lowe reports from Doha.
Grant Wahl: There was dreadful news in the wake of the match between Argentina and the Netherlands last night, when it was revealed that the well known American soccer – he always called it soccer – journalist Grant Wahl took ill during extra time and was later pronounced dead in hospital despite frantic attempts to revive him in the press box at the Lusail Stadium. He had just turned 49.
The subsequent flood of tributes on social media and elsewhere have shown just how highly regarded and revered Grant was as a sports journalist and a man. Our condolences go out to his wife Celine, his family and his many friends and colleagues.
Those teams: In big but largely unsurprising news, Cristiano Ronaldo is once again on the bench for Portugal, with his manager Fernando Santos making just one change to the side that thrashed Switzerland. Ruben Neves comes in to midfield for William Carvalho.
Morocco manager Walid Regragui makes two changes. Jawad Yamiq and Yahya Attiat-Allah are in for the injured Nayef Aguerd and Noussair Mazraoui, who don’t even feature on the bench. Romain Saiss starts, despite pulling up lame towards the end of his team’s win over Spain.
Morocco v Portugal starting line-ups
Morocco: Yassine Bounou, Achraf Hakimi, , Jawad Yamiq, Romain Saiss, Yahya Attiat-Allah, Sofyan Amrabat, Selim Amallah, Azzedine Ounahi, Hakim Ziyech, Soufiane Boufal, Youssef En-Nesyri.
Portugal: Diogo Costa, Diogo Dalot, Pepe, Ruben Dias, Raphael Guerreiro, Bruno Fernandes, Otavio, Bernardo Silva, Joao Felix, Goncalo Ramos, Ruben Neves
Today's match officials
Referee: Facundo Tello
Assistant referees: Ezequiel Brailovsky and Gabriel Chade
Fourth official: Ivan Barton
Video Assistant Referee: Mauro Vigliano
Early team news
Having appeared to do his hamstring quite a serious mischief in the closing stages of their win over Spain, Morocco defender Romain Saiss gamely played on through to the pain and is due to be assessed ahead of today’s match. Having come off with a groin injury during the Spain game, Saiss’s fellow defender Nayef Aguerd looks likely to miss out this afternoon.
Portugal left-back Nuno Mendes has already been ruled out for the rest of the tournament, while the word on the street is that his PSG team-mate Danilo Pereira is also on his way back to the French capital nursing the three broken ribs he suffered in training ahead of Portugal’s second group game against Uruguay.
World Cup quarter-final: Morocco v Portugal
In uncharted waters contesting their first ever quarter-final, the tournament’s surprise package Morocco take on Portugal with a place in the last four at stake. Having conceded just one goal – a slightly freakish own goal against Canada – in their past eight games, Walid Regragui’s side have proved a surprisingly obdurate proposition but today face a Portugal team that went goal crazy in their last game as they hit Switzerland for six.
Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo was dropped for that rout and had to look on from the touchline as his replacement Goncalo Ramos scored a hat-trick. He is likely to among the substitutes again today and for all the chuntering about his malign influence on Portugal’s squad will be a potent weapon for Fernando Santos to have in reserve should the European side find themselves in need of a late goal. Kick-off at Al Thumana is at 3pm but stay tuned in the meantime for team news and build-up.