Friday, December 9, 2022 – 12:56 PM
From Ahmed Zahran
DOHA, 9 December / WAM / The Moroccan national football team is looking forward to continuing the journey of brilliance in the 2022 World Cup and reaching a further point in the current World Cup when it meets its Portuguese counterpart tomorrow, Saturday, in the quarter-finals of the tournament, at 7:00 pm UAE time.
The activities of this round will conclude tomorrow at eleven o’clock UAE time, with another heavy-caliber confrontation between the French, the defending champion, and the English, who are strongly nominated to compete for the title of this edition.
Tomorrow, the match between the Moroccan and Portuguese teams will receive great attention in light of the great achievement that the Moroccan team has achieved so far, which attracted the attention of the whole world by achieving unprecedented Arab success in the first edition of the World Cup to be held in the Arab and Middle East regions.
He doubled the size of the achievement by the fact that the Moroccan national team deservedly reached this role through a thorny path full of difficult confrontations, as its group topped in the first round at the expense of two great teams, after a goalless draw with the second-placed Croatian team in the 2018 World Cup in Russia, and a precious 2-0 victory over its Belgian counterpart, who ranked second. The third in the same version and the second seed in the world, in addition to beating the Canadian team 2-1.
In the second round, the Moroccan national team was on a date with a heavy-caliber confrontation against the Spanish national team, one of the strong candidates for the title of the current version, but it passed the test with a valuable negative draw over the original and extra time before winning the penalty shootout.
The results indicate that the Moroccan national team’s defense is one of the strongest lines of defense in the tournament so far, with its goalkeeper Yassine Bounou also excelling in blocking two penalty shootouts against Spain, which did not succeed in scoring Morocco in any of the 3 penalty shootouts it took.
The Moroccan team also succeeded in imposing its style, led by coach Walid Rekragui, on the course of difficult matches against Croatia, Belgium and Spain, where the players’ enthusiasm and abundant effort, along with mastery of defense and execution of quick counterattacks, were among the most important success factors.
It is likely that the team will adhere to the same method against the Portuguese national team tomorrow, especially since the latter showed superior offensive capabilities in its second round match, in which it defeated the Swiss national team 6-1, with young striker Gonzalo Ramos in the starting line-up at the expense of the veteran star Cristiano Ronaldo.
But Ronaldo’s sharing of his great experience with the enormous capabilities of the rest of the Portuguese national team may make the confrontation more difficult for the Moroccan national team than the confrontation with the Spanish national team.
It is worth noting that the Moroccan national team, in addition to achieving qualification for the quarter-finals, achieved a record by keeping its record undefeated in 5 consecutive World Cup matches, including 4 matches in the current World Cup, in addition to its last match in the 2018 World Cup, in which it tied 2-2 with its Spanish counterpart.
The interesting thing is that the last previous defeat of the Moroccan national team in the World Cup was against the Portuguese national team itself in the second round of the group stage in the 2018 edition, with a clean goal scored by Ronaldo himself, noting that the only previous confrontation between the two teams in the World Cup ended with Morocco’s victory 3-1 in the 1986 edition in Mexico when the Moroccan national team reached Round of 16 for the only time previously before the current version.
The Moroccan national team hopes to repeat the victory over Portugal, to be its way to another unprecedented achievement for Arab and African football.
In the second match tomorrow, the French national team, the defending champion, will face a difficult test on the way to defending the title, as it will meet its fourth-placed English counterpart in the 2018 World Cup and the European runner-up in Euro 2020.
Both teams reached the quarter-finals after a good run in the tournament, which was crowned by the England team with a 3-0 victory over its Senegalese counterpart, the African champion, and the French team overcame its Polish counterpart 3-1 in the second round of the tournament, to prove that the two teams are among the most powerful attacking teams in the current edition.
The England national team scored 12 goals on its way to the quarter-finals, despite the end of its match against the US team in the first round in a goalless draw, while it conceded only twice in the first match and kept the net clean in the last 3 matches.
On the other hand, the French national team scored 10 goals against 3 conceded goals in the 4 matches it has played in the tournament so far.
Therefore, it is expected that tomorrow’s match will witness a strong attacking match, especially in light of the presence of prominent strikers in the ranks of both teams, led by Kylian Mbappe in the French national team, who tops the tournament’s top scorer list so far with 5 goals, and Harry Kane in the England national team, who scored his first goals in The current World Cup during the second round, but he was the top scorer for the last edition of the World Cup with 6 goals.
The England national team is looking forward to avoiding the fate of its crisis in more than one version of the World Cup, which is the exit from the quarter-finals, as it was subjected to this in the versions of 1954, 1962, 1970, 1986, 2002 and 2006.
The two teams meet only for the third time in the World Cup, noting that it is the first between them in the elimination rounds of the tournament, and the previous two confrontations were in the group stage when the English team defeated its French counterpart 2-0 in the 1966 edition, which the English team crowned its title and then won again over its French counterpart 3-1 in Version 1982 in Spain.
Ahmed Al-Boutli / Ahmed Zahran