The World Cup is drawing to an end as the number of teams reduces and on Saturday at Al Thumama Stadium, trailblazers Morocco will take on Portugal in the quarter-finals.

The Atlas Lions, who are now competing for a spot in the final four, defeated Spain before convincingly winning on penalties to advance to this round for the first time, while the Selecao completely changed their game to defeat Switzerland in the round of 16.

Following a valiant effort to hold off Spain, Walid Regragui’s team gave up the majority of possession to force a scoreless tie and set up a spectacular finish in which goalie Yassine Bounou saved two penalty kicks and joined Hakimi as an unbreakable legend in Rabat, Marrakech, and beyond.

In a crowded Education City Stadium, which was primarily filled with Moroccan fans whose fervor has proven to be such a big aspect of these championships, becoming just the fourth African side to reach the last eight at a World Cup – and the first in 12 years – sent the crowd wild.

Regragui’s team has made history for both their country and the Arab region. The Atlas Lions’ only other trip in the round of 16 was back in 1986. In the process, they kept a stunning sixth clean sheet in their last seven games, extending their World Cup unbeaten streak to five games.

This week, the Selecao easily defeated Switzerland and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Qatar 2022 World Cup as Fernando Santos was rewarded for establishing his authority by benching Portugal’s legendary captain. This victory may have been Santos’ greatest since winning the 2016 European Championship.

Santos’ team managed safe passage through the World Cup’s opening round as Group H champions, and with three victories and 12 goals already, they may well hope they can now take the title for the very first time. This is despite a late slip-up against South Korea when they had already qualified.

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