Morocco look to claim another giant scalp at 2022 FIFA World Cup as Walid Regragui’s Atlas Lions face Portugal at Al Thumama Stadium in the Quarter-Finals.
Victory would see Morocco further extend their longest-ever World Cup, whilst Portugal look to reach the semi-finals for first time since 2006 tournament.
Nayef Aguerd is a doubt for Morocco after he suffered a thigh injury during Tuesday’s win over Spain on penalties.
Sofyan Amrabat, Abdelhamid Sabiri and Romain Saiss are all at risk of suspesion because one booking would see any of the trio miss the semi-final, should Morocco win this tie.
Portugal could welcome Danilo Pereira back from a rib injury as manager, Fernando Santos ponders squad rotation amidst impressive performances from several players in their Round of 16 victory against Switzerland.
Goncalo Ramos and Otavio will amongst players hoping to retain their places in the starting line-up whilst Cristiano Ronaldo and Joao Cancelo lead those looking for a recall after being put on the bench in midweek.
Ruben Dias, Joao Felix, Bruno Fernandes, Danilo Pereira and Ruben Neves are all at risk of missing the semi-finals if they’re booked in this match.
- Morocco have won just one of two previous World Cup meetings against Portugal, which came in a 3-1 victory in 1986 FIFA World Cup.
- Portugal have kept just one clean sheet against Morocco at a World Cup, which came in a 1-0 win in 2018 FIFA World Cup.
- This is the first time that Morocco are playing as the home team against Portugal in a World Cup tie.
- Morocco has conceded just one goal in four matches at 2022 FIFA World Cup, which came in a 2-1 win against Canada in their final Group F match.
- Portugal’s only clean sheet in four matches at this World Cup came in a 2-0 win against Uruguay, whilst they have conceded five goals in three other matches.
Defensive discipline, organisation and quick counter-attacks have proven key to Morocco’s amazing run but after having taken Spain to extra-time and penalties, Morocco now need to be at their very best once again because Portugal’s attack does look difficult to silence despite their defensive vulnerability.
Santos’ risks against Switzerland meanwhile paid off with a fantastic attacking display complete with excellent movement on and off the ball, having initially made a slow start with Goncalo Ramos in particular looking a huge threat up front.
Now with morale high, I expect Portugal to come out looking to dominate but they will require patience to break Morocco’s stubborn defence down, although I do expect them to win this game because Morocco’s fitness could eventually work against them after going the distance against Spain.
Prediction: Morocco 0-2 Portugal