Hakimi and Ziyech prepare for biggest game of their lives against Portugal - in pictures

Morocco target history and a spot in World Cup semi-finals on Saturday

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The eyes of the Arab world and countless fans around the globe will be on Morocco as the small nation dreams big in its World Cup quarter-final against Portugal on Saturday.

The North Africans will take on Portugal at Al Thumama Stadium as the first Arab nation to reach the last eight after beating Spain on penalties in the last 16.

A World Cup semi-final against either England or France is up for grabs, alongside a place in the history books. Cameroon in 1990, Senegal's 2002 side and the 2010 Ghana team all fell at the quarter-final stage.

“We have nothing to lose. The challenge is to do as well as we did in the previous games,” coach Walid Regragui said on the eve of the match against Portugal.

“We want to show that Africa deserves to be here, Morocco deserves to be here.

“We have a whole people behind us, a continent behind us and the Arab world behind us. That's a lot of energy behind us. We're going to try to do everything we can.

“We can do it, we can make history again.”

Portugal, meanwhile, had to refocus this week after the saga surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo.

Manager Fernando Santos said Ronaldo was upset when he was left out of Portugal's starting line-up against Switzerland.

The 37-year-old was benched as Portugal thrashed Switzerland 6-1 in the last 16. Later, the country's football federation had to publicly deny reports that their skipper had threatened to leave during the tournament.

“He [Ronaldo] has never told me he wanted to leave our national team. It's high time we stopped talking about this conversation … It's high time to leave Ronaldo alone and acknowledge what he has done for Portuguese football,” Santos said.

“Yes, we did have a conversation … It needed to happen, it's part of our basis. I don't do that with all my players but he's the captain of our squad. You know what he represents for Portuguese football, the Portuguese people and national team.

Updated: December 10, 2022, 11:17 AM