Morocco provided the biggest shock of the entire World Cup on Saturday, knocking out huge favourites Portugal to reach the semi-finals in Qatar.
With the astonishing 1-0 win over Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal, the Atlas Lions, as the Morocco national football team is fondly called, became the first African and Arab Nation and second Muslim country after Turkiye in history to qualify for FIFA World Cup’s last four.
Turkiye, Muslim News Islamtainment reliably gathered, have appeared in the finals of the FIFA World Cup on two occasions: 1954 and 2002 where they finished third.
The Moroccan squad once again won hearts by not only their win but their celebration style. Like pre-quarters victory, Moroccan players and team management went into ‘sajda’ to celebrate the historic triumph, saying, “it’s not us, but Allah.”
Muslims across the world, Nigeria inclusive, were impressed by the men in red and lauded their emotional journey to the FIFA World Cup’s semis.
Portugal had earlier gone close through Joao Felix and Bruno Fernandes, who hit the crossbar, but Morocco goalkeeper Bono was only called into action three times all game.
Even the introduction of Cristiano Ronaldo as a second-half substitute could not give Portugal a goal.
Having been benched for the second game in a row, Ronaldo equalled a world record for the most appearances in men’s international soccer by coming on in the 51st minute.
But Morocco managed to hold on to record their fourth clean sheet in five games at Qatar 2022, despite having to play the final six minutes of added time with 10 men after Walid Cheddira was sent off for picking up two yellow cards.
Morocco, who had knocked out Spain in the last 16, was only the fourth African side ever to play in a World Cup quarter-final.
Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002) and Ghana (2010) had all fallen at this stage in previous years.
Morocco will now play France in the semi-finals on Wednesday, December 14
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