Friday, January 27, 2023

    Qatar 2022: Quarter final preview; First Spain, now their neighbours Portugal for Morocco


    Portugal have made it past the quarter-final of the world cup twice in their history, they have only made it to the quarter-final twice, but both times they managed to go past it.

    Morocco carry the hopes and dreams of an entire continent and race, they are at the moment representing Africa as a continent and Arabia as a race and would be expected to dwarf Portugal in support and numbers in the stands, as the world cup is hosted in the Arab world, having a home advantage type of feel.

    Morocco have history on their side as they are somewhat trailblazers in African football, they were the first African team to qualify for the world cup after Egypt played in the 1934 edition, they were also the first African team to reach the Knockout stage of the world cup in Mexico 1986, they have the chance to be the first african country go past the quarter-final after three failed attempts.

    Morocco and Portugal have met on two occasions in previous world cup editions.

    In Morocco’s first World Cup campaign they beat Portugal 3-1 with Morocco winning the group and Portugal getting knocked out.

    Both sides met again in 2018 this time a much stronger Portugal did the business against Morocco beating them 1-0, an early goal from Ronaldo sealing the win.

    Portugal come into this game fresh off arguably the most dominant performance by any team in the world cup so far, putting six past a Switzerland side that is more than decent.

    Morocco took Spain to extra time before beating them on penalties earning their place amongst the final eight.

    Bruno Fernandes has been building up a golden ball worthy tournament and is definitely one of the best players in the group stage and round of sixteen..

    With Ronaldo terribly off form, and a young Goncalo Ramos to aim, the playmaking ace would be the main spark for Portugal in the final third and leading up to it.

    Portugal were devastating in transitions against Switzerland and Sofyan Amrabat would have his work cut out for him, if he plays anything like he did against Spain, he might have etched his name into the team of the tournament even with two rounds to go.

    “There is no problem with our captain," Santos said.

    “We’ve been friends for years. We spoke before the game and he had no issue with my decision. He’s an example.”

    Fernando Santos made bold calls in the last game dropping Ruben Neves, Cristiano Ronaldo and Joao Cancelo, he is expected to recall the team that were so devastating against Switzerland

    D.Costa; Dalot, Dias, Pepe, Guerreiro; Otavio, Carvalho, B. Silva; Fernandes Felix, Ramos.

    Nayef Aguerd, Romain Saiss and Noussair Mazraoui picked up knocks against Spain, but are expected to be fit enough to be in the starting line up against Portugal

    Bono; Hakimi, Aguerdi, Saiss, Mazraoui; Ounahi, Amrabat, Amalah; Ziyech, En-Nesyri, Boufal

    This game would be very difficult and it is hard to see it getting resolved in regular time. The prediction is the winner would be determined using extra time and maybe even penalties.

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