Morocco in Qatar 2022 quarterfinal: African teams in last-eight at FIFA World Cup

The Atlas Lions now have an opportunity to go where no African side has gone before, the semifinals of the FIFA World Cup.

Yassine Bounou of Morocco is thrown into the air following the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Round of 16 match between Morocco and Spain.

Yassine Bounou of Morocco is thrown into the air following the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Round of 16 match between Morocco and Spain. | Photo Credit: CATHERINE IVILL

The Atlas Lions now have an opportunity to go where no African side has gone before, the semifinals of the FIFA World Cup.

Morocco made history by becoming the fourth African side to qualify for the quarterfinal of the FIFA World Cup after it beat Spain in the round of 16 in a penalty shootout on Tuesday.

The Moroccan side follows Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002) and Ghana (2010) to enter the last eight of the biggest footballing spectacle in the world.

Managed by Walid Regragui, Morocco has been rock-solid at the back, with just one goal conceded, an own goal in the World Cup so far.

In the group stage, it beat 2018 semifinalist Belgium 2-0 and was equal to Spain throughout its knockout game.

Its win over the 2010 champion was also the first by an African nation through a penalty shootout in the World Cup.

Now, the Atlas Lions have an opportunity to go where no African side has gone before, the semifinal stage. And laying in wait for it will be Portugal, which is looking to make its third last-four appearance.

HERE ARE THE OTHER THREE AFRICAN QUARTERFINALISTS FROM PAST WORLD CUPS

CAMEROON 1990

In 1990, Cameroon, which was making its second World Cup appearance, began with a win which sent shock waves across the football world. The Indomitable Lions overcame Argentina, the defending champion, 1-0 through a towering header from Francois Omam-Biyik.

The World Cup has produced its fair share of shocks, not least when Cameroon defeated defending champion Argentina 1-0 in 1990.

The World Cup has produced its fair share of shocks, not least when Cameroon defeated defending champion Argentina 1-0 in 1990. | Photo Credit: Dieter Endlicher

They then pipped Romania 2-1, which ensured qualification for the round of 16, despite a 0-4 defeat to Soviet Union.

In its first-ever knockout game, it came across Colombia, whom it beat thanks to a brace by its 38-year-old age-less lion, Roger Milla.

Cameroon could smell the semifinals, and the team that stood between them and the last four was England.

The English began strongly through a David Platt goal. But the African side struck back in a second-half blitz, with two goals coming in three minutes through Emmanuel Kunde and Eugene Ekeke, with Milla playing an important role in both goals.

The soaring Cameroonian dreams came crashing down as Gary Lineker scored two penalties, the second in extra time, to take the Three Lions through. Cameroon has since come to the World Cup multiple times, but never rose to the heights it reached in 1990.

SENEGAL 2002

Senegal, which was making its World Cup debut, began in the same fashion as Cameroon -- by toppling the reigning champion, France, 1-0. A Papa Bouba Diop goal was all the Lions of Teranga needed to make a statement win.

Senegal’s Papa Bouba Diop (right) slides the ball home past a prone French custodian Fabien Barthez), as defenders Youri Djorkaeff (6) and Emmanuel Petit rush in albeit a bit too late, in the inaugural match of the 2002 World Cup.

Senegal’s Papa Bouba Diop (right) slides the ball home past a prone French custodian Fabien Barthez), as defenders Youri Djorkaeff (6) and Emmanuel Petit rush in albeit a bit too late, in the inaugural match of the 2002 World Cup.

Senegal followed it up with two draws against Denmark and Uruguay to progress as the group runner-up.

In the round of 16, against Sweden, Senegal bravely bounced back after conceding an early goal. It levelled the score in the first half through Henri Camara.

In extra time, Camara seized a half-chance to score a golden goal, which sealed Senegal’s maiden and Africa’s second quarterfinal entry.

Senegal’s ambition to become the first African World Cup semifinalist came crashing down due to a golden goal scored by Ilhan Mansiz of Turkey in the quarterfinal.

GHANA 2010

In the first-ever World Cup hosted by an African nation, the entire continent was pinning its hopes on Ghana.

Ghana began its 2010 campaign with a 1-0 win over Serbia, with talisman Asamoah Gyan scoring. A draw against Australia and a defeat at the hands of Germany meant the Black Stars made it through as group runner-up.

A rousing extra-time win over the USA in the round of 16, thanks to goals from Kevin Prince Boateng and Gyan, meant Ghana was through to the quarterfinal against Uruguay, a game which will forever be remembered for its drama.

FILE - Uruguay's Luis Suarez, left, stops the ball with his hands to give away a penalty kick, during the World Cup quarterfinal soccer match between Uruguay and Ghana, at Soccer City in Johannesburg, South Africa, on July 2, 2010. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, File)

FILE - Uruguay's Luis Suarez, left, stops the ball with his hands to give away a penalty kick, during the World Cup quarterfinal soccer match between Uruguay and Ghana, at Soccer City in Johannesburg, South Africa, on July 2, 2010. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, File) | Photo Credit: Ivan Sekretarev

Sulley Muntari opened the scoring for Ghana before Diego Forlan equalised for Uruguay. Deep into extra time, the African side thought it had won when Dominic Adiyiah headed the ball towards the goal, only for Uruguay forward Luis Suarez to push it away with his hand.

Gyan failed to capitalise on the resultant penalty, and Uruguay eventually prevailed in the shootout to resign Ghana, and Africa, to yet another heartbreak.

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