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Morocco vs Portugal, FIFA World Cup 2022, Today Match Prediction

Al-Thumama, Al-Thumama Stadium




Giant-killers Morocco set their sights on dangerous Portugal for Semi Final place

  • Morocco miraculously beat Spain in the Round of 16, going through on penalties
  • Portugal turned on the power with a 6-1 thumping over Switzerland
  • Winners will face England or France in the Semis

Portugal to win 3-1

Tournament: FIFA World Cup 2022 | Venue: Al-Thumama, Al-Thumama Stadium

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So far in this tournament, Morocco have earned a credible drawn against Croatia, comfortably beaten Belgium before seeing off Spain on penalties.

They have become the giant-killers of the World Cup, the only nation outside the top 12 to make it to the Quarter Finals.

Should they make it past a dangerous Portuguese side, they’ll have reached the last four for the first time – a remarkable achievement considering the teams that haven’t made it so far.

Portugal will, of course, have something to say about that. Fernando Santos’ men turned on the style in their Round of 16 victory over Switzerland, thumping them by a 6-1 scoreline.

Even more impressive was the fact that Ronaldo was left on the bench, with Goncalo Ramos scoring a hattrick in his first start at this World Cup. The 21-year-old must surely be favourite to start this one too.

What about Cristiano Ronaldo then? Will he be consigned to the bench once again, focused on by TV cameras looking for the slightest hint of frustration? It’s not the ending to his international career he would have wanted.

Morocco Preview

FIFA Ranking: 22

Predicted Finish: Quarter Finals

Reasons to be cheerful:

     Beat Portugal 3-1 in the 1986 World Cup

     Have had great success against bigger nations at this year’s tournament

Reasons to be fearful:

     Portugal’s attack is one of the most potent 

     Defender Nayef Aguerd will undergo late fitness test

Morocco needed a penalty shootout to claim victory over Spain, but it was down to their solid organisation and defensive skills that keep their opponents at bay for 120 minutes.

In winning that penalty shootout 3-0 – with their goalkeeper pulling off two great saves and Achraf Hakimi chipping in the winning shot – they sent their crowd wild at the Education City Stadium.

Despite Spain having 77% possession across the 120 minutes, they failed to break down Morocco, who, to their credit, never looked in too much discomfort without the ball.

They may face a similar task here, although Portugal are not quite the ball-hoggers that Spain were. They will need to pick and choose their chances to counterattack if they are to succeed here.

Star Man – Hakim Ziyech

He was the man of the match against Spain, and had been his country’s standout performer throughout the tournament so far. His consistency going forward has made Morocco hard to predict.

Portugal Preview

FIFA Ranking: 9

Predicted Finish: Semi Finals

Reasons to be cheerful

     To score six goals without Ronaldo is a huge statement

     Have won both previous World Cup Semi Finals

Reasons to be fearful

     Must be careful of Morocco’s counterattack

     Selection choices to make across the pitch

Like Brazil the day before, Portugal left it until the Round of 16 to really showcase their full potential at this tournament.

The main headlines came an hour before kickoff, when it was confirmed that Cristiano Ronaldo would not be in the starting line-up.

Whether in spite of that, or because of it, Portugal were electric against Switzerland, scoring six and looking as though they could have got more if they wanted.

The standout player was, of course, Goncalo Ramos who netted a hattrick after taking Ronaldo’s place. Surely that will be enough to convince his manager to keep him in the line-up here.

It is elsewhere that decisions need to be taken. Diogo Dalot came in for Cancelo at right back, while Otavio and William Carvalho may continue in midfield ahead of Ruben Neves.

Star Man – Goncalo Ramos

What a story for this young man, who can now stake a claim to make the number 9 spot his own. Help his country again here, and he’ll go down as a hero.

     Both teams prefer to counter quickly

     First goal won’t necessarily settle it

     Don’t rule out extra time

Due to the quick, pacey nature of both of these teams, they are actually more comfortable when counterattacking rather than controlling the ball for 90 minutes, like Spain.

Therefore, we could see high turnover of possession throughout the game and plenty of chances at both ends. It would certainly make for an exciting spectacle.

Portugal have a vast array of talent, as we know. If they find the same form they did against Switzerland, they could carve through this Moroccan team and put the game to bed.

Morocco will make it more difficult for them, but you’d still expect Portugal to reach the Semi Finals.

Portugal to win 3-1


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Author: Ross B.