Morocco and Portugal will now meet for the third time; the first two meetings took place during the World Cup. The first match was won by Morocco in a group stage match in 1986 (3-1), while the second was won by Portugal in a tournament in 2018, where they also shared a group.
The European team has triumphed in nine of the previous 11 matches between African and European nations in the World Cup knockout stages. The two exceptions are Morocco’s triumph over Spain in a penalty shootout in the previous round this year and Senegal’s 2-1 extra-time victory over Sweden in the round of 16 in 2002.
Morocco wants to make history by becoming the first African nation to reach a World Cup quarterfinal. In fact, the last three African teams to go to the quarterfinals—Cameroon in 1990, Senegal in 2002, and Ghana in 2010—all lost at this point.
Portugal will play in their third World Cup quarterfinal; they advanced in each of the first two, defeating England 3-1 in a penalty shootout in 2006 and the DPR Korea 5-3 in 1966. Portugal scored six goals against Switzerland, which was more than they had scored in their previous eight World Cup knockout games combined.
Morocco enters this game on a five-game World Cup winning streak (W2 D3), their longest ever winning streak in the tournament. Walid Regragui, who will manage this game as the first African manager to oversee a World Cup quarterfinal, has managed four of these games (W2 D2).
At the 2022 World Cup, Portugal has scored 12 goals in four games, the only team to have scored more in a single tournament in 1966. (17). Eight different players have scored their 12 goals, which is the most different goal scorers they have ever had in a World Cup competition.
The most clean sheets ever recorded by an African team in a single World Cup are being held by Morocco, who have three in four games. Nigeria is the first African team to have recorded seven or more clean sheets overall in World Cup history, surpassing Morocco’s six.
At the 2022 World Cup, Bruno Fernandes has been personally involved in five more goals than any other Portugal player. Along with his two goals, Fernandes tied António Simes, José Torres, and Lus Figo (2006) for the most assists by a Portuguese player in a single World Cup. Fernandes also scored two goals.
Half of Morocco’s goals in the 2022 World Cup (2/4) have been assisted by Hakim Ziyech, who has scored one and provided one. In fact, he has been directly involved in 10/30 of Morocco’s shots in the current competition, accounting for a third of all shots. He also leads the team in shots (6) and chances created (4).
Gonçalo Ramos of Portugal became the first player since Miroslav Klose in 2002 to score a hat trick on his first World Cup start against Switzerland the last time out. While Cristiano Ronaldo is still waiting for his first goal in the World Cup’s knockout rounds, Ramos has scored three goals in just 74 minutes of action (531 minutes played).
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