Morocco became the first African team to qualify for the semifinal of the FIFA World Cup after it pulled off a brave-hearted 1-0 win over Portugal at the Al Thumama Stadium on Saturday.
Youssef En-Nesyri gifted Morocco the all important goal in the first half, when he out-jumped Portuguese goalkeeper Diogo Costa to nudge in the ball.
The Moroccan side outdid Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002) and Ghana (2010) to enter the last four 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, Morocco beat 2018 semifinalist Belgium 2-0 and was equal to Spain throughout the round of 16, before trumping its neighbour.
Its win over the 2010 champion was also the first by an African nation through a penalty shootout in the World Cup.
HERE ARE THE OTHER THREE AFRICAN QUARTERFINALISTS FROM PAST WORLD CUPS
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.
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, 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 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.
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.
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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