On Saturday, the Portuguese and Moroccans will decide who will grab one of the four places in the semi-finals, this being the first occasion on which they face each other in knockout matches, as the two entries took place in the group stage.
The most recent, in the previous edition of the World Cup, in Russia, in 2018, came in the second round of Group B, with Portugal imposing itself with a ‘thin’ triumph by 1-0, in Moscow, built right at the start of the game , by Cristiano Ronaldo, following a corner.
The Moroccans created several problems in the second half and came close to tying several times, but the national team, already led by Fernando Santos, secured the advantage and confirmed the victory, the only one in the competition, which was joined by two draws, with Spain ( 3-3) and Iran (1-1), and a defeat with Uruguay (1-2), which dictated the Portuguese elimination in the ‘eighth’.
However, more than three decades before, in 1986, it was the Africans who won the World Cup in Mexico, with a bad memory for the Portuguese ‘colors’ and marked by the conflict between the players of the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF), who became eternalized as the ‘Saltillo case’.
On the field, Portugal debuted with a victory over England (1-0), but then lost to Poland (0-1), meaning that the duel with Morocco, the last in Group F, had a character decision in the fight for qualification.
Despite the talent that abounded in the Portuguese team, the Moroccans took the lead with two goals from Abderrazad Khairi and one from Abdelkrim Krimau, Diamantino Miranda’s goal being of no avail, securing a result (1-3) that confirmed the qualification of the ‘ lions of the atlas’ and ‘goodbye’ from Portugal to Mexico.
The third clash between Portugal and Morocco, in the quarter-finals of the 2022 World Cup, is scheduled for Saturday, at 6 pm local time (3 pm in Lisbon), at the Al Thumama Stadium, in Doha.