World Cup 2022, Portugal vs Morocco: Everything you need to know
Morocco has made an improbable underdog run to the quarterfinals, topping their group in the first stage and then beating Spain on penalties in the Round of 16, reaching the quarterfinals for the first time in nation’s history. They now look to keep their luck going as they face a tough Portugal team on Saturday at Al Thumama Stadium with kickoff at 10 a.m. ET.
Portugal also topped their group before breezing past Switzerland 6-1 in the Round of 16 in a showing that would make any opponent nervous-sweat. All eyes will be on Cristiano Ronaldo, who started on the bench against Switzerland while his replacement Gonçalo Ramos scored a hat-trick.
How to watch Portugal vs Morocco in the World Cup
The game will be broadcast on TV on Fox and Telemundo or you can live stream on fuboTV, the Fox Sports website or app, the Telemundo Deportes website or app, and Peacock. You can also follow our live text coverage right here on AS USA.
Don’t miss Morocco vs Portugal
Morocco’s road the the last eight
Morocco is the only African team left in the World Cup in Qatar after topping a group with Croatia, Belgium, and Canada. They have conceded only one goal in their four games so far, an own goal off of a deflection. In the Round of 16, Morocco fought hard to end their game against Spain in a scoreless draw, with a brilliant display of defensive resilience. Spain had 76% possession and 13 goal attempts to Morocco’s six, but Morocco head coach Walid Regragui stuck to his plan. It was Spanish-born Achraf Hakimi who brought Morocco to victory in a 3-0 penalty shootout, while goalkeeper Yassine Bounou saved two goals.
The Atlas Lions’ last appearance in the Round of 16 was in 1986. They are just the fourth African team to reach the last eight and the first in 12 years. If they can keep up their defensive magic, they can put the pressure on Portugal and take advantage of their chances on the counterattack. This Morocco team has a chance of making it to the next round, but they’ll have to stay disciplined at the back and stick to the game plan that’s been working so well for them so far.
Morocco team news
Morocco was dealt a blow when defender Nayef Aguerd suffered a hamstring injury. It’s still not clear if he will be fully fit to play against Portugal on Saturday. Not only that, but captain Romain Saiss left the Round of 16 with leg issues and midfielder Sofyan Amrabat was playing through back pain. If possible, it’s likely Regragui will want to stick with a similar lineup to the one that held off Spain.
Morocco possible starting lineup vs Portugal
Portugal’s road the the last eight
Portugal topped Group H with ease despite a loss to South Korea in the final group stage game when they’d already qualified. In the Round of 16, Portugal displayed their abilities in the attack in a 6-1 beating of Switzerland. With 12 goals and three wins over their four games, Portugal is a force to be reckoned with.
Head coach Fernando Santos’ decision to bench Cristiano Ronaldo and start Gonçalo Ramos instead was rewarded almost immediately and by the end, given complete reassurance. With 37-year-old Ronaldo watching from the sideline, 21-year-old Ramos launched the opening goal and eventually scored a hat-trick to help rack up half the points in the victory. Meanwhile, Ronaldo has scored just one goal in the group stage from the penalty spot.
With Morocco being such a tough team to score against, Portugal will need a sharp shooter like Ramos in the lineup. They’ll need to be ready on offense early to try to get the upper hand over the Moroccans as quickly as possible.
Portugal team news
Santos is likely to start the same 11 as the team that obliterated Switzerland. Of course, that would mean Ronaldo on the bench and Ramos to start. Joao Cancelo also started on the bench against Switzerland and could very well find himself there again on Saturday. Portugal will be without defensive duo Danilo and Nuno Mendes. Danilo, who fractured three ribs, and Mendes, who is suffering from a thigh injury, both left the squad on Thursday to be treated by the PSG staff in France.
Portugal possible starting lineup vs Morocco