Morocco became the first African nation to reach a World Cup semi-final and ended the hopes of Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal.

Striker Youssef En-Nesyri scored the winning goal in the first half, leaping highest to beat goalkeeper Diogo Costa to the ball and heading in to spark pandemonium at Al Thumama Stadium.

The north African side’s supporters populated most of the venue and joyously celebrated their breakthrough moment on the global stage.

Ronaldo came off the bench in the 50th minute to equal the men’s all-time appearance record of 196 in international matches, but he could not drag his side back into the contest.

Morocco, who will face England or France in the last four, were happy to play on the counter and grabbed the opener just before the break when En-Nesyri headed in from Yahya Attiyat-Allah’s cross.

Full time scenes as Morocco become the first African side to make World Cup semi-finals

Portugal skipper Bruno Fernandes came agonisingly close to levelling just minutes later but a brilliant individual effort struck the crossbar.

Decimated by injuries, Morocco sat back for the majority of the second half and Yassine Bounou brilliantly tipped over Joao Felix’s drive – the closest they came to an equaliser.

Morocco striker Walid Cheddira was sent off for a second yellow card in eight minutes of additional time but Portugal could not find the equaliser as their last-four hopes were dashed.

Magnificent Moroccans make history

Watch Moroccan fans celebrate historic World Cup win

Three African sides had previously reached this stage of the World Cup but none had progressed any further. Until now.

The marvellous Moroccan players and fans rejoiced as En-Nesyri’s header on 42 minutes proved to be the pivotal moment.

Fans whistled and jeered every pass the Portuguese players made and then the rowdiest section behind the goal seemed to suck the ball into the net.

Walid Regragui’s side were missing West Ham’s Nayef Aguerd, Bayern Munich’s Noussair Mazraoui and lost captain Romain Saiss to injury early in the second period.

But they defended resolutely and frustrated Portugal to keep their seventh clean sheet in eight games under their boss and have conceded just once in this tournament.

Morocco are a tough proposition and buoyed on by a partisan crowd in Doha, they will present a difficult challenge to whoever they face in the last four on Wednesday.

Goalkeeper Bounou, earning his 50th cap, pushed away a header from Felix early on and a deflected strike flew narrowly over.

Morocco had carved out the better opportunities on the break but En-Nesyri sent two free headers off target and Sofiane Boufal’s curler was straight at Costa.

In his desperation for an equaliser, Fernando Santos sent on Ronaldo early in the second half but the 37-year-old – who equalled Kuwait striker Bader Al-Mutawa’s international caps record – found it difficult to make any impact.

Having seen rival Lionel Messi reach the semi-finals on Friday, Ronaldo could not do the same with his side on what is likely to be his final World Cup appearance, trudging down the tunnel in tears at full-time as his dream was over.

Player of the match

En-NesyriYoussef En-Nesyri

with an average of 8.77


  1. Squad number19Player nameEn-Nesyri
    Average rating


  2. Squad number4Player nameS Amrabat
    Average rating


  3. Squad number7Player nameZiyech
    Average rating


  4. Squad number17Player nameBoufal
    Average rating


  5. Squad number25Player nameAttiat-Allah
    Average rating


  6. Squad number2Player nameHakimi
    Average rating


  7. Squad number15Player nameAmallah
    Average rating


  8. Squad number1Player nameBono
    Average rating


  9. Squad number8Player nameOunahi
    Average rating


  10. Squad number6Player nameSaïss
    Average rating


  11. Squad number18Player nameEl Yamiq
    Average rating


  12. Squad number14Player nameAboukhlal
    Average rating


  13. Squad number20Player nameDari
    Average rating


  14. Squad number24Player nameBenoun
    Average rating


  15. Squad number26Player nameJabrane
    Average rating


  16. Squad number21Player nameCheddira
    Average rating



  1. Squad number8Player nameBruno Fernandes
    Average rating


  2. Squad number15Player nameRafael Leão
    Average rating


  3. Squad number11Player nameJoão Félix
    Average rating


  4. Squad number20Player nameJoão Cancelo
    Average rating


  5. Squad number10Player nameBernardo Silva
    Average rating


  6. Squad number4Player nameRúben Dias
    Average rating


  7. Squad number2Player nameDiogo Dalot
    Average rating


  8. Squad number3Player namePepe
    Average rating


  9. Squad number18Player nameRúben Neves
    Average rating


  10. Squad number5Player nameRaphaël Guerreiro
    Average rating


  11. Squad number26Player nameGonçalo Ramos
    Average rating


  12. Squad number22Player nameDiogo Costa
    Average rating


  13. Squad number25Player nameOtávio
    Average rating


  14. Squad number16Player nameVitinha
    Average rating


  15. Squad number21Player nameRicardo Horta
    Average rating


  16. Squad number7Player nameCristiano Ronaldo
    Average rating




Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Bono
  • 2Hakimi
  • 18El Yamiq
  • 6SaïssSubstituted forDariat 57′minutesBooked at 70mins
  • 25Attiat-Allah
  • 8Ounahi
  • 4S Amrabat
  • 15AmallahSubstituted forCheddiraat 65′minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 7ZiyechSubstituted forAboukhlalat 82′minutes
  • 19En-NesyriSubstituted forBenounat 65′minutes
  • 17BoufalSubstituted forJabraneat 82′minutes


  • 9Hamdallah
  • 10Zaroury
  • 11Sabiri
  • 12Mohamedi
  • 13Chair
  • 14Aboukhlal
  • 16Ezzalzouli
  • 20Dari
  • 21Cheddira
  • 22Tagnaouti
  • 23El Khannouss
  • 24Benoun
  • 26Jabrane


Formation 4-3-3

  • 22Diogo Costa
  • 2DalotSubstituted forRicardo Hortaat 79′minutes
  • 3Pepe
  • 4Rúben Dias
  • 5GuerreiroSubstituted forCanceloat 51′minutes
  • 10Bernardo Silva
  • 18NevesSubstituted forCristiano Ronaldoat 51′minutes
  • 25OtávioSubstituted forVitinhaat 69′minutesBooked at 87mins
  • 8Bruno Fernandes
  • 26Gonçalo RamosSubstituted forRafael Leãoat 69′minutes
  • 11João Félix


  • 1Rui Patrício
  • 6João Palhinha
  • 7Cristiano Ronaldo
  • 9André Silva
  • 12
  • 14William Carvalho
  • 15Rafael Leão
  • 16Vitinha
  • 17João Mário
  • 20Cancelo
  • 21Ricardo Horta
  • 23Nunes
  • 24António Silva

Facundo Tello


Match Stats

Live Text

  1. Match ends, Morocco 1, Portugal 0.

  2. Second Half ends, Morocco 1, Portugal 0.

  3. Attempt missed. Pepe (Portugal) header from the right side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Rafael Leão with a cross.

  4. Attempt saved. Zakaria Aboukhlal (Morocco) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Yahya Attiat-Allah.

  5. Corner, Portugal. Conceded by Badr Benoun.

  6. Second yellow card to Walid Cheddira (Morocco) for a bad foul.

  7. João Félix (Portugal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  8. Foul by Walid Cheddira (Morocco).

  9. Walid Cheddira (Morocco) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  10. Pepe (Portugal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  11. Foul by Walid Cheddira (Morocco).

  12. Attempt saved. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Bruno Fernandes with a through ball.

  13. Offside, Morocco. Sofyan Amrabat tries a through ball, but Walid Cheddira is caught offside.

  14. Vitinha (Portugal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  15. Foul by Vitinha (Portugal).

  16. Azzedine Ounahi (Morocco) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  17. Corner, Portugal. Conceded by Jawad El Yamiq.

  18. Vitinha (Portugal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  19. Foul by Achraf Hakimi (Morocco).

  20. Foul by Ricardo Horta (Portugal).

BBC Sport app banner

Get the latest results and goal notifications for any team at the Fifa World Cup by downloading the BBC Sport app: Appleexternal-linkAndroidexternal-linkAmazonexternal-link

BBC Sport bannerBBC Sounds logo

Get your daily dose of Fifa World Cup reaction, debate & analysis with World Cup Daily on BBC Sounds

Around the BBC footer - Sounds