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2022 World Cup

Morocco Carry Hope Of Africa

Morocco will square off with Portugal in the 2022 FIFA World Cup quarter-final encounter at the Al Thumama Stadium on Saturday.

Kick-off is at 16h00 GMT.

The Atlas Lions booked their place in the quarter-finals following a 3-0 post-match penalty shoot-out win over one of the tournament’s favorites Spain.

Morocco are looking to become the first African team to qualify for the semifinal of a World Cup tournament.

Prior to Qatar showpiece, only three African teams had made it to the quarters in the World Cup’s 92-year history; Cameroon’s 1990, Senegal’s 2002 side, and the 2010 Ghana team all fell at the quarter-final stage.

The Atlas Lions come into the game with into this match on a five-game unbeaten run at the World Cup, their longest-ever streak without defeat in the competition.

Morocco coach Walid Regragui is well aware of the task ahead and has since warned Portugal that there will be a whole continent behind the Atlas Lions.

“We have nothing to lose. The challenge is to do as well as we did in the previous games,” Regragui said on the eve of the match against Portugal.

“We want to show that Africa deserves to be here, Morocco deserves to be here.

“We have a whole people behind us, a continent behind us and the Arab world behind us. That’s a lot of energy behind us. We’re going to try and do everything we can.

“We can do it, we can make history again. It (the support) can push us, help us actually to play with this pressure, not to make any mistakes.”

Portugal, meanwhile, advanced to the quarterfinals after thrashing Switzerland 6-1 in a one-sided affair played on Tuesday.

Cristiano Ronaldo was a surprise omission from Portugal’s starting XI  in their last match against Switzerland with his replacement, Goncalo Ramos, scoring a hat-trick.

This is the third time that Portugal have reached the quarterfinal, as achieved a similar fate in 1966 and 2006.

The Navigators have scored 12 goals in four games at the 2022 World Cup, only netting more in a single tournament back in 1966 where they scored 17 goals.

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