2022 World Cup | Morocco vs Portugal combined XI

Morocco has stunned the world this winter in Qatar first by topping Group F before defeating European giants Spain on penalties in the round of 16 while Portugal come off a statement thrashing of Switzerland

The 2022 World Cup continues to provide one amazing storyline after the next this winter, with the upcoming quarterfinal clash between Morocco and Portugal perhaps chief among them.

Though many would have marked Fernando Santos’ men as capable of making a deep run in the tournament and thus their advancement into the last eight hardly a shock, what Walid Regragui’s Ousud Al-atlas have achieved is nothing short of stellar as the north African nation reached the last-eight for the first time in its history while Ragragui became the first African coach to coach an African nation to this stage of the tournament.

With plenty of talking points to dissect as these two unlikely quarterfinal foes are set to lock horns on Saturday night at Al Thumama Stadium, 101 Great Goals takes a look at the best-combined XI from both nations.

Combined XI (4-2-3-1)

  • Yassine Bounou (GK): One of the undisputed heroes of the entire tournament, the Sevilla shot-stopper forever wrote his name into Moroccan football lore after saving three penalties against Spain to help his nation reach new heights on the international stage.
  • Achraf Hakimi (RB): Scoring the winning penalty against the nation you were born in is a storyline that will forever be remembered but for Moroccan star Achraf Hakimi, his overall play this tournament has been nothing short of sensational as well as consistent.
  • Romain Saïss (CB): Many will probably feel as though Rúben Dias deserves mention here on gravitas alone, but Morocco boasts the top defensive record in the tournament and Saïss is one of the key reasons why. In the team on merit.
  • Pepe (CB): His headed goal during the rout of Switzerland last night showed that age is just a number for the 39-year-old Portuguese veteran defender, who has rolled the clock back this winter while looking vital at every turn along the way.
  • Raphaël Guerreiro (LB): No João Cancelo in this team after he was dropped in the round of 16. Instead, Dortmund left-back Rafa Guerreiro gets the nod here, who has chipped in with a goal and two assists in the tournament.
  • Sofyan Amrabat (CM): A vital cog in the wheel for Walid Regragui, Amrabat has been fantastic patrolling the center of the park for Morocco and it comes as no surprise that some big clubs around Europe are now sniffing in his direction for a potential move.
  • Bruno Fernandes (CM): Has proven himself on the international stage once more for Portugal and, to take some liberties, looked even more impressive against Switzerland when he had more freedom to do what he does best without Ronaldo in the lineup.
  • João Félix (CAM): Questions about his future and the possibility of his leaving Atlético Madrid will dominate his personal headlines, but Félix has looked very good all tournament long and, much like Fernandes, has shone brighter without CR7 up front.
  • Hakim Ziyech (RW): Perhaps a controversial pick given that Morocco has only bagged four goals in the tournament, Ziyech has played his role to near-perfection this tournament while being directly involved in half of his country’s goals.
  • Rafael Leão (LW): Has yet to be given a start this tournament by Fernando Santos but whenever he has come off the bench he has brought a spark that has been impressive to see while also adding in two goals along the way. Has a big national team future.
  • Gonçalo Ramos (CF): One performance was all it took for him to be included here after the SL Benfica starlet bagged a hat-trick in his first World Cup start while adding an assist. The next flagbearer for the number 9 role for A Seleçao? It certainly seems so.

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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