World Cup 2022: Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal dumped out by Morocco

WCup Morocco Portugal Soccer
Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, left, reacts as he receives a pat from Portugal’s head coach Fernando Santos after their loss in the World Cup quarterfinal soccer match against Morocco, at Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

World Cup 2022: Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal dumped out by Morocco

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Morocco has become the first African nation ever to reach the World Cup semifinals, beating Portugal in Qatar and dumping Cristiano Ronaldo out of the tournament in the process.

The only goal of the game came from Youssef En-Nesyri, whose towering header in the 42nd minute put Morocco ahead for good. Morocco won despite having only 27% possession.

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Ronaldo, who started the game on the bench, came on after 51 minutes but was largely ineffective as he equaled the record of 196 caps in the men’s game. He was visibly distraught at the final whistle, shielding his eyes as he walked down the tunnel after the final whistle.

Morocco’s win is the second major upset of the quarterfinals in the 2022 World Cup. On Friday, Brazil was dumped out by Croatia after losing a penalty shootout. Morocco will face either England or France in the semifinals, while Croatia will take on Lionel Messi and Argentina.

The loss by Portugal likely brings down the curtain on Ronaldo’s glittering international career. He is also without a club after he was released by Manchester United following a controversial interview with Piers Morgan in which he criticized his manager Eric ten Haag and the club’s infrastructure.

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After the final whistle, the Moroccan players celebrated by throwing their manager, Walid Regragui, into the air. Since Regragui took over as boss of the national team in August, Morocco has only conceded one goal, which was an own goal, against Canada in the World Cup group stages.

The surprise package of the Qatar tournament, Morocco has also beaten Belgium and Spain en route to the semi finals.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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