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Key facts ahead of Morocco vs Portugal match



  • If Morocco beat Portugal today in the quarter-final duel of the World Cup, the Atlas Lions would have conquered the Iberia Peninsula having at Round of 16 beaten Spain. Portugal and Spain constitute the Iberia Peninsula which is the southwestern edge of Europe. It is separated from Morocco by a narrow strait situated at the juncture of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.
  • Morocco is the only African country to have produced a World Cup final referee. Said Belqola who died on 15 June 2002 was a Moroccan who refereed the final match of France ‘98  in which France beat Brazil 3-0.

• Morocco have become the fourth African nation to reach the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup, following Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002) and Ghana (2010). Morocco are aiming to become the first African nation to reach the semi-finals.

• Nine of the last 13 FIFA World Cup knockout matches involving African nations have gone into extra time.

• Morocco have kept three clean sheets in four matches at Qatar 2022, and of all the remaining teams they have the best defensive record with just one goal conceded.

• Portugal have not failed to score in their last ten FIFA World Cup matches. This is their longest sequence of successive games with a goal in the history of the tournament.

• Only one of Portugal’s previous ten FIFA World Cup knockout matches has gone into extra time. This was their 2006 quarter-final against England, which the Portuguese eventually won on penalties after a goalless draw.

• Portugal are unbeaten in their last five FIFA World Cup matches against African teams (Win 4;  Draw 1), since losing 3-1 against Morocco in 1986 in their first World Cup match against African opponents




Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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