Morocco celebrate. Getty

Morocco make history by becoming first African country in World Cup semi-final

  • Morocco became the first African nation in the last four
  • Youssef En-Nesyri scored the all-important goal
  • The North Africans withstood great pressure to win

WHAT HAPPENED? Youssef En-Nesyri gave Morocco the moment of glory when he headed in Yahya Attiat-Allah’s cross in the 42nd minute after Portugal goalkeeper Diogo Costa failed to deal with the ball.

The striker showed great centre-forward play when slotted in between Portugal defenders Ruben Dias and Pepe, jumping highest to meet the cross and nod it home.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: The Atlas Lions withstood great pressure from their opponents, putting up another impressive defensive performance to keep the Portuguese at bay.

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The Moroccans cleared everything that was thrown their way while also helped by the heroics of goalkeeper Yassine Bounou to keep their fourth clean sheet in five games.

The North Africans had little of the ball but utilised what they could, while they resisted the temptation to get out of their shape as the front three constantly tracked back to help out defensively.

The victory makes Morocco the first African country to ever reach the World Cup semi-finals, following several failed and painful attempts.

ALL EYES ON: Defender Jawad El Yamiq was thrown into the deep end in what was his first start at the tournament and the Valladolid man looked assured alongside captain Romain Saiss, clearing danger in the air and on the ground.

THE VERDICT: Having put aside Croatia, Belgium, Spain and no Portugal, Morocco cannot now be ruled out of going all the way in Qatar.

WHAT’S NEXT? The Atlas Lions will take on the winner between France and England in the semi-finals.