Cristiano Ronaldo left with tears in his eyes after Portugal’s exit from the World Cup©AFP
After his side’s loss to Morocco in the quarter-final of the ongoing FIFA World Cup, Portugal coach Fernando Santos said he had no regrets about not including star striker Cristiano Ronaldo in the starting line-up. Morocco made history on Saturday, becoming the first African country to qualify for the last four of the World Cup by beating Portugal 1-0 in the quarter-finals.
“Our players are upset,” Portuguese coach Fernando Santos told Sky Sports. Ronaldo came onto the pitch after 50 minutes but was unable to make the difference and left the field in tears as the 37-year-old’s World Cup dreams fell apart.
Santos added: “Cristiano is a great player and he came when we thought it was necessary. But no, no regrets.”
The African nation created a huge stir to knock Portugal out of the World Cup as they held on to their one-goal lead at half-time to record a first-place finish in the FIFA World Cup semi-finals. A resilient Morocco found the back of the net through Youssef El-Nesyri in the 42nd minute. The attacker went airborne and headed in Attiyat Allah’s cross to give his side the advantage that proved fatal for Portugal.
Morocco bettered their record against Portugal after the win by winning two of their three matches. The loss to Portugal will be very disappointing for Ronaldo, who has probably played his last World Cup given his age.
Morocco overcame expectations and challenges to reach the semi-finals, defeating Croatia, Belgium, Spain and now Portugal. The Atlas Lions are now two steps away from glory. Portugal gave it their all, but Morocco overcame fatigue, injury and nervousness in the knockout match to take a remarkable win. The team held the European side for a memorable win.
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