Morocco is near to creating another history as they face Portugal.
The Atlas Lions Morocco have made it through to the quarter-final stages of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, courtesy of some heroic defending and a miraculous penalty shootout with footballing giants Spain. Tonight they face their Iberian neighbours Portugal at Al Thumama Stadium.
With some great upsets and drama in the last eight stages already, here’s a look at the combined lineup amongst the two sides from North Africa and Europe below:
Goalkeeper: Yassine Bounou
The Sevilla goalie was part of the best defence in La Liga last season with his club Sevilla conceding only 30 goals. However, he’s now a hero for his nation after stopping Spain from going through on penalties and is the in-form keeper between the two nations. He’s only allowed one goal in the entire World campaign as well, which was his own goal. Hence, besides great keeping ability, confidence and momentum are also on his side.
Right-back: Achraf Hakimi
The Paris Saint Germain full-back has shown maturity and ability to defend for large parts of a game as his ability going forward has always been distinguished. He even got himself a visit from the World Cup top scorer and best friend Kylian Mbappe as a confidence booster before his knockout shock result against Spain. His confidence and audacity showed scoring a panenka penalty to bring his side to the quarter-finals.
Trending World Football Articles:
Centre-back: Ruben Dias
The two-time Premier League winner with Manchester City has been like a rock in the heart of the Portuguese defence alongside legendary Pepe and helped steer his nation to the latter stages here in Qatar and gets the nos ahead of Pepe purely due to his overall ability currently.
Centre-back: Romain Saiss
Morocco’s captain Roman Saiss has been a standout performer in the defence. (Courtesy: The Record)
The Wolves defender and Morocco captain have been amongst the standout defensive players of the tournament and responsible for the Moroccan defence conceding only one goal and putting in heroic defence against Spain for 120 minutes and getting in the combined 11.
Left-back: Noussair Mazraoui
The Bayern Munich full-back like his compatriot Hakimi has had a stellar World Cup campaign. Born and bred from the famous Dutch system of Ajax and a summer move to Bayern Munich this year has enhanced his reputation as a solid, fundamentally sound and progressive full-back who can play either position. A crucial part of the solid Moroccan defence who’ve conceded very little in Qatar and gets in the combined 11.
Central Midfield: Sofyan Amrabat
Probably the heartbeat of the Moroccan midfield and be the standout midfielder of the tournament alongside Jude Bellingham. He’s a key component in controlling the tempo in midfield and building from the back as well as acting as a shield to his backline. Some of the top clubs in Europe will be looking at his signature from Fiorentina in January with Liverpool reportedly interested, and he easily makes the eleven here as well.
Central Midfield: Otavio
The Porto midfielder has made a late impact on Fernando Santos’s Portugal plan despite playing in the pre-World Cup friendlies. He’s given the Portuguese midfield some much-needed on-ball composure and balance to play a three-man midfield, after the shock loss to South Korea in the last group game. He played a part in Portugal’s 6-1 win over Switzerland and provides a balanced option to the combined 11.
Attacking Midfield: Bernardo Silva
The Manchester City midfielder is probably Pep Guardiola’s favourite player and it’s no exception as to why he’s lauded by his national coach as well. He’s the key component in carrying out a defensive or offensive game plan based on the requirement. This makes him nearly indispensable, besides his technical and pressing ability which is amongst the elite in Europe. Hence, he easily makes our combined 11.
Central Midfield: Bruno Fernandes
Bruno Fernandes has three assists in the 2022 FIFA World Cup. (Courtesy: Yahoo Sports)
The Manchester United captain has been very influential in this Portugal team and the absence of Ronaldo at his club has given him the freedom to express himself more on the pitch. He’s the highest assister in the World Cup with three besides his brace against Uruguay which secured Portugal’s pathway to the knockout stage. He’s a must in any eleven currently.
Right Forward: Goncalo Ramos
If one has the opportunity to replace the greatest goalscorer in International Football history, the burden might have been too much to bear. However, 21- year old Benfica striker Goncalo Ramos played and went on to score a hattrick and leave a permanent imprint on his and Portuguese World Cup history. He’s now an automatic choice upfront for Portugal unless something drastic changes and hence makes the 11.
Related News |ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW
Left Forward: Joao Felix
The Atletico Madrid forward has been undergoing a turbulent time at his club, with the fallout with his manager Diego Simeone. However, that hasn’t been the case here in Qatar as the Portuguese manager Fernando Santos’ trust in him has been repaid in plenty as he’s contributed to consistent performance s with his technical ability shining throughout his displays. His two assists helped Portugal rout the Swiss 6-1 in the previous round and hence his selection.
For more updates, follow Khel Now on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and join our community on Telegram.