By Rashmi Goel

After a 1-0 win over Portugal, Morocco became the first African nation to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup. In the last round, Spain was defeated using the same methods that were employed to achieve that major landmark in history. This is primarily due to hard work and organization, which makes Walid Regragui's team so difficult to defeat. Youssef En-Nesyri scored the only goal of the game after leaping higher above Diogo Costa to avert a cross from Diogo Costa. He is not known for his goal-scoring abilities, however, with jets in his heels, he made a Cristiano Ronaldo-Esque leap to head in the ball at the near post. An astonishing leap left the Portuguese superstar astounded on the bench, and the crowd absolutely ecstatic. The result was no less than Regragui's men deserved and from that point on, they simply continued to perform as they have done throughout this tournament. Every ball was chased, and every ball was fought for by them. Throughout this tournament, this is one of the most impressive defensive performances we have seen in Qatar.

In the second half, Cristiano Ronaldo was unable to make an impact from the bench, and his career is now likely to come to an end without winning the most prestigious award in football. Despite his fierce rivalry with Lionel Messi, he hasn't even scored a knockout goal at any World Cup. In the last round, Portugal seemed to have found the winning formula without Ronaldo, but they were defeated by this remarkable Moroccan team due to their selection of an unnamed team. Morocco brought the noise to the Al Thumama Stadium despite the stadium being half empty at kick-off due to difficulties getting in. In this remarkable moment in history, their support has contributed to the success of their country. It was an even first half, and Morocco posed a reasonable threat. Youssef Selim Amallah headed over unmarked from a Morocco corner after Joao Felix received a free-kick that was palmed away early on. Despite having a good opportunity to take the lead, the African side failed to capitalize on it. At the end of the first half, the Atlas Lions came out with far more attacking intent than they did against Spain, as Ziyech shot from distance but missed the target. The ball almost went in as Felix's effort from outside the box was deflected just over the crossbar.

Despite a fluid passing movement, Morocco cut the ball back for Amallah, who half-volleyed his effort over the bar. They then scored that all-important goal just minutes before the break to break the deadlock. In the aftermath of Diogo Costa's error, En-Nesyri took full advantage with jets in his heels, and he pulled off a Cristiano Ronaldo-like leap to score his second goal of the season. An awe-inspiring jump left the Portuguese superstar astounded on the bench, and the stadium was bouncing. Walid Regragui's men deserved no less than this victory. The Moroccan team has proven they are more than just a well-organized outfit, and for the majority of the first half, they remained the more dominant force. The referee waved away Fernandes' soft challenge in the box before Yahia Attiyat Allah missed a great opportunity seconds before the break. A very intense first half ended with Portuguese protests, but the Atlas Lions led at the break.

Moroccans were 45 minutes away from a semi-final but would smash through the glass ceiling they couldn't break. After the break, Ziyech whipped in a wonderful free-kick that somehow the Portuguese keeper kept out before Cristiano Ronaldo and Joao Cancelo were introduced. His nation needed him to rescue them. Ramos headed wide after Otavio chipped a ball for Ramos. In the last 16, it was how they kept Spain out for 120 minutes, but Fernandes fired one over from the edge of the box. The last 20 minutes were all defense from Morocco and one-way traffic from Portugal. Ronaldo set Felix up to shoot a left-footed effort that looked destined for the top corner, but Yassine Bounou, penalty hero last round, got to it to tip it over. In this tournament, Portugal threw everything at this stubborn defense, as they fought back fiercely.

The Portuguese attacker was encouraged even further when Walid Cheddira was sent off after a second yellow card after eight added minutes. Before Pepe headed a golden chance wide, Morocco missed a one-on-one that should have sealed it. Morocco has somehow managed it. Again. Football has been turned on its head. The Moroccan team has advanced to the semi-finals of the World Cup.

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