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Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Morocco on verge of making history

Story by Anashe Murombedzi

THE African dream is still alive at the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Qatar, and the full line-up for the quarterfinals has been confirmed, with Africa providing one team, South America two and Europe five.

Morocco successfully bid to become the first team from the continent to reach the semi-finals.

After Cameroon in 1990, Senegal in 2002 and Ghana in 2010, Morocco are the fourth African team to reach the quarter-finals after a penalty shoot-out win in the last 16 against Spain this Tuesday.

Now the focus has shifted to their quarterfinal clash against high-flying Portugal, with the hope of breaking the African jinx.

Indeed, there is every reason for the Atlas Lions to be hopeful, given how they demolished 2018 quarter-finalists, Belgium and topped the group that also contained 2018 runners-up, Croatia.

Their last 16 win over Spain comes is yet another confidence booster for Morocco.

The quarter-final line-up also comprises two South American giants, Brazil and Argentina.

The star-studded Brazil face Croatia in the first of the quarterfinal matches on Friday.

Led by Lionel Messi, who is seeking World Cup glory on a fifth attempt, Argentina have a tricky assignment against the Netherlands in the other quarter-final match later on Friday.

The two South American teams have a chance of meeting in the semi-finals if they win their respective quarterfinal matches.

Europe has five teams in the quarter-finals.

Apart from Portugal, Croatia and Netherlands, defending champions, France will be hoping to get past an impressive England side in another quarter-final on Saturday.

The winner of the match will face either Morocco or Portugal in the semi-finals.

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