Here’s Sid Lowe’s report on Morocco’s famous victory
“Ronaldo on the bench?” sniffs Matt Dony. “Man, Football Twitter is going to be pretty much “unusable for the next few hours…”
You mis-spelt ‘millenniums’.
“More than Rashford, it is Dalot’s emergence that reflects well on Erik ten Hag’s coaching,” says Digvijay Yadav. “As far as Ronaldo is concerned, you are right, but strangely enough this gives him a better chance to win this World Cup. He could easily come off the bench to finish off ties or score from set pieces (head not feet). Not that he’d see it that way.”
Yeah, I’ve thought this for a while. He’s addicted to glory, and there’s a helluva lot of that on offer to substitutes these days. It wouldn’t be remotely surprising if he scored the winner tonight.
Morocco’s winning penalty was one for the books. Achraf Hakimi, born in Spain, kissed the most nonchalant Panenka past the diving Unai Simon. Whatever happens for the rest of the tournament, Qatar 2022 will forever be associated with Morocco.
Poor Spain have gone out of the last three tournaments on penalties.
Benfica’s Goncalo Ramos replaces Ronaldo up front for Portugal, one of eight changes from the defeat to South Korea on Friday. The survivors are Diogo Costa, Diogo Dalot (who is preferred to Joao Cancelo) and Pepe.
Switzerland make two changes from the win over Serbia. Edimilison Fernandes replaces Silvan Widmer at right-back, and the fit-again Yann Sommer returns in goal.
Portugal (4-2-3-1ish) Costa; Dalot, Pepe, Dias, Guerreiro; Otavio, Carvalho; B Silva, Fernandes, Felix; Ramos.
Substitutes: Patricio, Palhinha, Ronaldo, Andre Silva, Sa, Leao, Vitinha, Mario, Neves, Cancelo, Horta, Nunes, Antonio Silva.
Switzerland (4-2-3-1) Sommer; Fernandes, Schar, Akanji, Rodriguez; Freuler, Xhaka; Shaqiri, Sow, Vargas; Embolo.
Substitutes: Elvedi, Zakaria, Seferovic, Steffen, Omlin, Aebischer, Fassnacht, Comert, Okafor, Frei, Kobel, Kohn, Rieder, Jashari.
Referee Cesar Arturo Ramos Palazuelos (Mexico)
MOROCCO ARE IN THE QUARTER-FINALS!
Full time: Morocco 0-0 Spain (3-0 pens) Glorious scenes at the Education City Stadium, where Morocco have made history by reaching the last eight of the World Cup for the first time.
Spain suffered the usual problems in front of goal. They couldn’t score in normal time – or even in the penalty shootout, when they missed three out of three.
Morocco will now play Portugal or Switzerland for a place in the semi-bloody-finals.
Why Cristiano Ronaldo has been dropped (possibly)
Team news: Ronaldo on the bench
Fernando Santos wasn’t joking: he’s dropped Cristiano Ronaldo, apparently in response to Ronaldo effing and jeffing when he was taken off against South Korea. Either that or he has used Ronaldo’s outburst as an excuse to drop a player who is sadly past it.
We’ll have the full line-ups shortly.
Tonight’s winner will play Morocco or Spain in the quarter-finals. That match is about to go penalties, and John Brewin politely requests your company.
The story so far
Portugal turned it on the second half to beat Ghana 3-2 and Uruguay 2-0 and qualify with a game to spare. A much-changed side lost 2-1 to South Korea, but they still won the group.
Switzerland did the necessary against Cameroon, with Breel Embolo scoring the only goal against the country of his birth. Then they lost a tight game to Brazil, which set up a winner-takes-all clash with Serbia. Switzerland had the draw, too, but they didn’t need it: they came from behind to win a thrilling, spiky game 3-2.
Let’s get one thing clear from the start: this could be a long night. With the possible exception of Japan v Croatia – and look how that turned out – Portugal v Switzerland always felt like the closest match in the last 16. I’m not saying we should jump straight to the penalty shootout right now, but I’m not holding out much hope of watching The White Lotus at 9pm.
Whether it’s via penalties or not, one of these sides will achieve something pretty rare in the next few hours. Switzerland haven’t won a World Cup knockout game – or even scored a goal in one – since 1954, and Portugal, surprisingly for such a celebrated football nation, have only reached the last eight on two occasions. The first was in 1966, Eusebio and all that, and the second in 2006. There’s one survivor from that tournament in the current squad; you know his name.
Kick off 7pm in Lisbon and London, 8pm in Bern, 10pm in Lusail.