The final two matches in the quarterfinals of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will take place on Saturday with Portugal looking to end Morocco’s historic run to the last eight.
Portugal have shown what they can do without Cristiano Ronaldo after the five-time Ballon d’Or winner was benched in the 6-1 rout of Switzerland in the round of 16.
His replacement, Goncalo Ramos, scored the first hat trick of this year’s World Cup.
It’s not clear if Ronaldo will be recalled for the quarterfinal match or if he will be asked to accept a reduced role.
“I will use what I believe is the right strategy, as I have done my entire life,” Portugal coach Fernando Santos said.
Standing in Portugal’s way is the surprise team of the World Cup, Morocco.
Portugal are at this stage for only the third time after 1966 and 2006, perhaps surprising given the talent to have come from the country down the years.
As for Morocco, the nation is in uncharted territory after becoming only the fourth African country to reach the quarterfinals at soccer’s biggest tournament, after Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002) and Ghana (2010). None of them reached the semifinals.
In the last of the four quarterfinal matches, two of the best strikers in the world – Harry Kane and Kylian Mbappe – go head-to-head.
Kane, the leading scorer at the last World Cup, finally got off the mark in England’s 3-0 win over Senegal. But he has some catching to do if he wants to get close to Mbappe, who has scored five goals in the tournament.
England have been getting their goals from a variety of places. Eight different England players have scored for the team in Qatar so far.
Mbapp? is the tournament’s leading scorer and is widely considered the man to succeed Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as soccer’s biggest star.
The big question is: How do you stop Kylian Mbapp??
See Saturday’s schedule below:
Quarter-finals10:00 am – Morocco vs Portugal2:00 pm – England vs France