Morocco VS Portugal FIFA LIVE Football Score 10/12/2022

Morocco VS Portugal FIFA LIVE Football Score 10/12/2022

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — These really are pinch-yourself times for Morocco: A first-ever spot in the quarterfinals of a World Cup — the first to take place in the Arab world, no less — and now a meeting with Portugal and its superstar striker, Cristiano Ronaldo. Because Ronaldo has again managed to steal the spotlight in his inimitable way, even bumping Morocco’s historic run to the last eight off the top of the agenda before Saturday’s narrative-laden match. Will he start, or won’t he? That’s the big question being asked about Ronaldo after he was dropped by Portugal coach Fernando Santos for the 6-1 win over Switzerland in the round of 16 on Tuesday.

Not only was the five-time world player of the year relegated to the bench, his replacement — 21-year-old Gonçalo Ramos — scored a hat trick to leave Santos with quite the selection dilemma against Morocco. “I hope he won’t (play),” Morocco coach Walid Regragui said Friday of Ronaldo. “As a coach I know he’s one of the best players in history and so I’d be delighted if he didn’t play.” The announcement of Portugal’s team about 90 minutes before the game at Al Thumama Stadium is keenly awaited as Ronaldo prepares to play in the quarterfinals of the World Cup for just the second time in his glittering career.

“We won 1-0 but we had to suffer a lot to win that match,” he said. “My players know that.” As for Morocco, the nation is in uncharted territory after becoming only the fourth African country to reach the quarterfinals at soccer’s biggest tournament, after Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002) and Ghana (2010). None of them reached the semifinals.

Morocco is also the only team from outside Europe or South America to make it to the last eight in Qatar. The team’s penalty-shootout victory over Spain in the last 16 sparked wild celebrations not just among its many fans in Qatar and at home. The excitement extended to the Moroccan diaspora of around 5 million people spread mostly around Europe, which has united behind the World Cup run of the team nicknamed the “Atlas Lions.”

Morocco fans poured into the streets of European cities to celebrate the team’s passage to the quarterfinals, which came after Morocco advanced from a group containing second-ranked Belgium and 2018 runner-up Croatia. Santos declined to share selection thoughts Friday for what he said would be a different kind of game to the one against Switzerland, while noting that “90% of the questions” are about Ronaldo at Portugal’s pregame news conferences.

One inevitable question Santos faced was about reports in national media that Ronaldo threatened to leave the World Cup after being told he was benched. Not true, the coach said. “He has never told me that he wanted to leave the national team,” Santos said through an interpreter. “Cristiano obviously wasn’t very happy about it. He told me ‘Do you really think it’s a good idea?’”

Portugal is at this stage for only the third time after 1966 and 2006, perhaps surprising given the talent to have come from the country down the years. Four years ago, Portugal lost in the round of 16 to Uruguay, though a group-stage game against Morocco was “possibly the most difficult match” the team faced, Santos said Friday.

Portugal’s Goncalo Ramos scored three goals as his team thrashed Switzerland 6-1 to set up a quarter-final against Morocco in the 2022 Qatar World Cup. Ramos, on the pitch in place of the benched Cristiano Ronaldo, delivered a hat-trick for the ages on Wednesday night at Lusail Stadium as the old-timers of Portuguese football handed the baton to a younger generation.

Veteran Pepe, wearing the captain’s armband in Ronaldo’s absence, added to Ramos’s opener in the first half. Ramos scored his second goal early in the second half. Raphael Guerreiro added a fourth before the hour mark as Portugal started scoring for fun. Then came the third for Ramos, with the 21-year-old becoming the first player to score a hat-trick in the knock-out stages of World Cup since 1990.

There was a balance to this Portugal team without the overbearing presence of their talismanic captain, who was dropped after he reacted angrily to being substituted against South Korea in the group stages. Football is a team game and Portugal’s team all stepped up to fill the Ronaldo-sized void.

Twenty-one-year-old Ramos was two years old when Ronaldo made his debut for Portugal. He had played fewer than 35 minutes of international football before tonight, making his debut last month. He had never started for his country before. The pressure was on. And he did not disappoint. Portugal played like a team – interdependent, connected. For the first time this tournament, they looked like they could win it.

Switzerland’s Manuel Akanji turned the ball in at the far post from a beautifully weighted cross for a consolation goal in the 56th minute but it could not herald a turn in the tide of the game. Joao Felix made way for Ronaldo to a huge ovation in the 72nd minute, winning his 195th cap for Portugal after fans chanted his name in this 90,000-seater stadium for a quarter of an hour. A spectacular effort from the veteran striker in the 82nd minute was ruled as offside.

Rafael Leao, 23, scored with a wonderful finish in the 91st minute to leave Portugal facing Morocco in the quarter-finals on Saturday afternoon, before England take on France. But the question marks over Ronaldo’s future remain. Without a club, after a spectacular media implosion ended his time at Manchester United, and now with a natural replacement lined up in the national team, Ronaldo cut a lonely figure at the end of the match.

There may be a break in the World Cup fixtures but there are football matches on this evening, namely the Women’s Champions League. Arsenal host Juventus, who are the only team to take points off of the Gunners so far in the competition. They were locked in a 1-1 draw in November, meaning Arsenal remain top of group C with Juventus two points behind.

Also tonight Lyon take on Zurich, Rosengard play Benfica and Bayern Munich take on Barcelona. There’s more football tomorrow with Chelsea taking on Real Madrid away from home. Chelsea are the only team in the Women’s Champions League not to concede a goal yet and they will be trying to maintain the record. If European football doesn’t take your fancy there is also the Continental Cup on this evening. Today the pick to watch would be Manchester United v Everton but Liverpool v Manchester City and Sheffield United v Aston Villa is also billed.

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