The aspirations of Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal of winning the World Cup were dashed when Morocco became the first country from Africa to advance to the World Cup semifinals.
The winning goal was scored in the first half by the striker Youssef En-Nesyri, who caused chaos at Al Thumama Stadium by rising highest to beat goalkeeper Diogo Costa to the ball and head in.
The majority of the stadium was occupied by the north African team’s fans, who joyfully celebrated their continent’s historic achievement on the world stage.
Ronaldo came off the bench in the 50th minute to tie the men’s record most appearances in international games with 196, but he was unable to get his team back into the game.
En-header Nesyri’s from Yahya Attiyat-cross Allah’s gave Morocco, who will face either England or France in the semifinals, the lead just before halftime.
Only a few minutes later, Bruno Fernandes, the captain of Portugal, came agonisingly close to tying the score, but his outstanding individual effort hit the crossbar.
Devastated by injuries, Morocco sat back for the majority of the second half and the nearest they came to a goal was when Yassine Bounou expertly tipped over Joao Felix’s shot.
Portugal’s dreams of making the last four were shattered when Moroccan forward Walid Cheddira received a second yellow card in the eight minutes of extra time.