World Cup 2022: Morocco and Portugal thrill as the quarter-final ties are set – live | World Cup 2022


Key events

AP had reporters out on the streets in Rabat speaking to Morocco fans yesterday as they celebrated their win.

“We are so proud of our Lions, who fought hard to get us into the quarter-finals,” said Niama Meddoun, a Rabat resident. “We are delighted to be Moroccans today, since we are the first Arab country that has reached the quarter-finals.”

The King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, praised the national team and sent his “heartfelt congratulations” to the players, the technical team and administrative personnel, “who gave their all and blazed a trail throughout this great sporting event,” according to a statement from the royal palace.

The king said the players represented “hopes and dreams of Moroccans in Morocco, Qatar, and all over the world.”

There were also celebrations in Barcelona. Youssef Lotfi, a 39-year-old construction worker who was born in Casablanca but moved to Spain as a child and said he feels love for both countries, was brimming with pride.

“Today is a day of joy for Moroccans and all the Arab world,” Lotfi said. “It was a heart-attack finish that could have gone either way.”

He called the victory “once in a lifetime” experience. “Morocco is representing all the Arab world, all the African continent, that is beyond description, it is the most glorious part,” he said.

Here are your remaining World Cup fixtures by the way …

Friday 9 December
QF1: Croatia v Brazil (3pm GMT, Education City Stadium)
QF2: Netherlands v Argentina (7pm GMT, Lusail Iconic Stadium)

Saturday 10 December
QF3: Morocco v Portugal (3pm GMT, Al Thumama Stadium)
QF4: England v France (7pm GMT, Al Bayt Stadium)

Tuesday 13 December
SF1: Netherlands or Argentina v Croatia or Brazil (7pm GMT, Lusail Iconic Stadium)

Wednesday 14 December
SF2: England or France v Morocco or Portugal (7pm GMT, Al Bayt Stadium)

Saturday 17 December
Third place play-off: Losing semi-finalist second XIs (3pm GMT, Khalifa International Stadium)

Sunday 18 December
Final: Winning semi-finalists (3pm GMT, Lusail Iconic Stadium)

Statistics fans – your moment has arrived. This week’s the Knowledge has dropped, and it is a World Cup trivia special that leads with the question: which player has scored the most goals in World Cup knockout games?

There were some quite punchy quotes from Portugal coach Fernando Santos about CR7 after the game last night. PA carry them, with Santos saying that the role of Cristiano Ronaldo for the remainder of the World Cup is something that has yet to be “defined”. He said:

I have a very close relationship with him – I always have, I have known him since he was 19 years old. This relationship only develops, Ronaldo and I never interpret the human aspect of that of manager and player (in relation to) what we have to do during the match. I will always consider in my role that he is an important player to have in the team.

Asked directly if Ronaldo would play against Morocco on Saturday, Santos said: “Ronaldo will definitely (be involved), all the players on the bench can be used, if they are not in the starting lineup they can play later.

“It is important to look at the example of this player’s history, he is one of the best players in the world at playing professionally, being captain – all we have to do is think about this team collectively.”

There are some wonderful pictures this morning on the news wires of the contrasting scenes between Spain and Morocco supporters around the world, which I feel I must start the day by sharing.

Moroccans celebrate their team's victory in Rabat.
Moroccans celebrate their team’s victory in Rabat. Photograph: Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images
A Morocco supporter waves a national flag to celebrate the win on the Champs Elysees in Paris.
A Morocco supporter waves a national flag to celebrate the win on the Champs Elysees in Paris. Photograph: Julien de Rosa/AFP/Getty Images
Spanish supporters react as they watch the live broadcast of the defeat to Morocco in a bar in Madrid.
Spanish supporters react as they watch the live broadcast of the defeat to Morocco in a bar in Madrid. Photograph: Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images

Max Rushden, Barry Glendenning, Jonathan Fadugba, and John Brewin were up working late last night in the pod to discuss the concluding games of the World Cup round of 16 after Portugal thrashed Switzerland and Morocco shocked Spain. You can get that directly into your ears here …

Preamble

First the bad news. It is the first day where there is no actual football at the World Cup since 20 November, and like me, I am sure you are going to miss settling down for the action come 3pm GMT.

But the good news? Wow, what a day we had yesterday, and what a lot we still have to look forward to.

You can’t tell me that even in his wildest dreams, Portugal coach Fernando Santos woke up on Tuesday morning thinking that the consequences of dropping Cristiano Ronaldo as captain and out of the first XI would be that he could casually bring him on as a substitute in the 73rd minute as a gesture of “no hard feelings” when his side were already 5-1 up against Switzerland.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos watches on as Cristiano Ronaldo waits on the substitutes bench.
Portugal coach Fernando Santos watches on as Cristiano Ronaldo waits on the substitutes bench. Photograph: Suhaib Salem/Reuters

Then there was Morocco reaching the quarter-finals for the first time in their World Cup history. You can argue whether penalties are a lottery or the execution of a precision skill under pressure – don’t worry, it is definitely the latter – but the Atlas Lions have now kept clean sheets against Croatia, Belgium and Spain, and go into the quarter-finals unbeaten. That is something that can’t be said of Brazil, Argentina, France or Portugal.

Morocco's defender Achraf Hakimi (C) celebrates with his teammates after converting the last penalty during the penalty shootout win against Spain.
Morocco’s defender Achraf Hakimi (C) celebrates with his teammates after converting the last penalty during the penalty shootout win against Spain. Photograph: Javier Soriano/AFP/Getty Images

I will be bringing you all the fallout from that, the rest of the World Cup news as it happen, and looking forward to the quarter-finals getting under way on Friday. Do drop me a line at martin.belam@theguardian.com



Source link