After a two-day hiatus, football fans and spectators are ready to go again as four quarterfinal matches are ready to set the football world on fire once again. Favourites Croatia, Brazil, Netherlands, Argentina, Portugal, England and France brushed off any possible upsets and became the participants of the last 8 stage, while Morocco is the biggest dark horse of all, and amazing is only an understatement about their superb achievement and journey in this tournament.
Morocco entered the Round of 16 as Group F winner after wins over world no. 2 Belgium and 2026 FIFA World Cup host nation Canada. Beating the 2010 FIFA World Cup champion after 120 minutes of gruesome football and seven penalty kicks allowed them to become just the fourth African country to reach the last 8 stage of the competition, and the first since Ghana did it in the 2010 edition. History has been made by the Atlas Lions, but can they continue to roar?
The Toughest Shield vs The Sharpest Sword
The Morocco-Portugal clash may not be as star-struck and intriguing on paper as the other three heavyweight fixtures, but statistics will tell you otherwise. The Atlas Lions is the only team that has conceded a single goal in four matches in the entire tournament, while Os Navegadores is the current joint-top scoring team (12 goals in four matches), along with England. In other words, this match is about to witness the best defensive team go up against the deadliest team in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Despite only separated by the Mediterranean Sea and shared similar kit colours, the neighbouring Morocco and Portugal had only met twice in the past, with both games came in the World Cup, in which the Atlas Lions won their inaugural matchup in the 1978 FIFA World Cup in Argentina (3-1) and Os Navegadores picked up a 1-0 win against their neighbour in the last edition, courtesy of their captain, Cristiano Ronaldo’s fourth goal of the tournament. Saturday’s game will determine which team leads in their overall head-to-head record.
History Tracker for Either Teams
The book of records will be rewritten regardless which team emerge victorious in this clash. Should the Atlas Lions come out on top, it will be the first African country to qualify for the semifinal of the competition, whereas if Portugal extinguishes the last hope of Africa in the tournament, it will be its first semifinal milestone since the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. Despite going into the game as an underdog, Morocco’s penalty shoot-out win against La Roja was the second time an African team has beaten a team from the European soil in the knockout stage of the World Cup. Perhaps no one would be surprised if they were to upset the big boys in the football industry once again when they play Portugal this Saturday.
In another quarterfinal clash, Memphis Depay’s Netherlands will take on Lionel Messi’s Argentina. The former can beat the latter if they are able to these things: https://www.wclivestream.net/here-are-how-netherlands-could-beat-argentina-in-the-2022-fifa-world-cup-quarterfinal/
(Photo Credits: DAZN)