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Portugal v Morocco: Can the Africans shut down Cristiano Ronaldo?

06:20 EAT 20/06/2018
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Will the Portuguese superstar continue to tear apart the tournament?

Cometh the man, cometh Cristiano Ronaldo.

So often when club or country has needed something special, Ronaldo has stepped up to the plate and delivered - time and time again.

As he shaped up for the late free kick against Spain with Portugal a goal behind, there was a feeling of 'surely he can't do it again'.

But he did. Capping off his hat-trick with a wonderful strike that secured the European champions a result.

Now with three World Cup 2018 goals in the bag already, it's going to be hard to pip Ronaldo for tournament top scorer - especially considering five-to-six goals is usually enough to seal the award.

It is the eighth consecutive major tournament that Ronaldo has scored at - with goals at the World Cup, European Championship and Copa America - and you wouldn't be betting aganst him to add to his tally with the Moroccans and Iranians to come in the group.

A heartbreaking own goal in stoppage time condemned Morocco to a 0-1 loss to Iran in their opening match, with the North Africans having 68 percent possession and not facing a single shot in the second half.

But there is no time fo reflection - anything but a win against Portugal is likely to send the Moroccans crashing out of the tournament.

All the money will be for Portugal - who have not lost against a non-European nation at the World Cup since a 1-0 defeat to South Korea in 2002.

Morocco's first ever World Cup win came against Portugal in the 1986 tournament, but that was also the latter's last defeat against an African nation.

Expect Portugal and Ronaldo to be tested by the Moroccans, but continue on their march to the knockout stages where sterner tests await.

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