In the third quarter-final of the Qatar World Cup, Portugal face the ultimate underdogs of the competition: Morocco. The winners will face the winners of England vs France who play in the fourth quarter-final on Saturday evening.
Portugal have proven their ability to thrive without talisman Cristiano Ronaldo in this competition, while Morocco have upset the odds time and time again, defeating major sides like Belgium and Spain en route to this position.
As Portugal aim to maintain their surge towards World Cup glory, Morocco aim to be the spoilsports once again and continue their own fairytale run in the competition.
Morocco vs Portugal Predictions and Best Odds for December 10
Morocco’s Run of Form
Going into the World Cup, not many expected Morocco to even make it out of their group – which involved Croatia and Belgium – let alone win it. But they have proven to be the biggest surprise package of this competition so far.
Their campaign started in cagey fashion with a goalless draw against Croatia, but they stormed to a 2-0 win over Belgium thanks to two late goals. The Atlas Lions went on to win their final game against Canada as well, winning their group and booking a tough Round of 16 clash against Spain.
But even in their first knockout game, they produced another upset. After dragging the game to penalties, the heroics of arguably Morocco’s best player Youssine Bounou helped them win the game on penalties and qualify for the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time in history.
Portugal’s Run of Form
The Portugal national team has been involved in some off-the-pitch drama all through the World Cup, mostly due to the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo. The 37-year-old saw his contract with Manchester United terminated just days into the tournament following his explosive interview with Piers Morgan. But Portugal have not allowed that to impact their performances on the pitch.
They fought their way to a 3-2 win in their opening group game, before showcasing impressive character with a 2-0 win over Uruguay which helped them win their group. They ended up suffering a loss to South Korea in the final group game, but that didn’t hold them back when it came to the round of 16, where, without Ronaldo, they produced their best performance of the tournament so far against Switzerland – picking up a 6-1 win thanks to a hattrick from debutant Goncalo Ramos.
They head into the quarter-finals high in confidence and with a lot of momentum on their side.
Head to Head
Morocco have only faced Portugal twice before, both times being at the World Cup. The two sides have split the games, winning one each.
The last time they faced each other was in the 2018 World Cup, in their Group B match. Portugal sneaked out a 1-0 win on that day thanks to a winner from Ronaldo.
The only other time Morocco and Portugal have faced each other was in Group F of the 1986 World Cup, and on this occasion Morocco picked up a huge 3-1 win to oust the odds. The African nation will hope for something similar in the upcoming game as well.
Morocco vs Portugal Predictions
At Last Word on Football, we predict that Portugal will win 1-0 in extra-time.
This shoud be a pretty tightly-contested affair with a lot of cagey phases in the game. Morocco and Portugal both have a pretty mean defensive structure, which should make it difficult for either side to create chances easily. But Portugal have an advantage in terms of experience and that should help them get the better out of the Morocco side. It wouldn’t be surprising if Bernardo Silva scored the winner for them, as he possesses that X-factor in his game and the ability to thrive on the biggest stages. Morocco should give a valiant fight, but expect Portugal to come up with a late winner.
Current Betting Odds: Morocco vs Portugal
As expected, Portugal are favourites for this game, with SkyBet putting a victory for Fernando Santos’ side at 4/6. A draw is at 5/2, and Morocco are once again underdogs at 17/4.