Morocco became the first African nation to reach the World Cup semifinals as Youssef En-Nesyri’s first-half goal sealed a tense 1-0 victory over Portugal on Saturday at Al Thumama Stadium.
The Atlas Lions, also the first Arab team to make the last four, added Portugal to their list of European scalps with a resolute second-half performance.
Cristiano Ronaldo has likely played his last World Cup match after making an ineffectual appearance as a second-half substitute, failing to score his first knockout-phase goal at the tournament.
Morocco took a 42nd-minute lead through En-Nesyri’s header as they came on strongly late in the first period.
Portugal piled on the pressure after the break but an injury-hit Morocco, without three of their four first-choice defenders once skipper Romain Saiss was forced off, hung on despite being reduced to 10 men in added time.
The partisan crowd undoubtedly helped the North Africans over the line, although Portugal struggled to create many clear-cut chances as they lost a World Cup quarterfinal for the first time.