It has been a World Cup of upsets and surprises. There have been so many shocks as things have not gone to script. The tournament started with Argentina receiving a massive shock as they lost to minnows Saudi Arabia.
There have been other shocks at the World Cup. Nobody expected Japan to beat Germany, but the Asian side caused a major upset with a 2-1 win over Die Mannschaft. Japan also beat highly-rated Spain 2-1 to cause another shock at the World Cup.
It has been the tale of the tournament, as the minnows have shown no respect for their more illustrious opponents.
Another team that has shocked the world is Morocco. The Atlas Lions caused an uproar in Qatar when they beat highly-fancied Belgium 2-0. They also kicked Spain out of the World Cup via penalties. The two victories have brought them under the spotlight and caused their next opponent Portugal to tread carefully.
Fernandes wary of the Atlas Lions
Morocco have conceded only one goal so far in the World Cup. The goal – an own-goal – came in the 2-1 win over Canada. The Atlas Lions are one of three countries yet to lose any game at the World Cup in Qatar. The others include Croatia (they played 0-0 with Morocco) and England.
Bruno Fernandes believes the Atlas Lions are not at the quarter-final stage of the World Cup by chance. The Seleção das Quinas are alert to the threat the African side carries.
Fernandes told reporters that Morocco is a good team, and they are wary of them. He pointed to their group stage shenanigans, where they finished top of the group ahead of Croatia, Belgium and Canada.
Fernandes said they know the qualities Morocco possesses. He said they would focus on themselves and understand the requirements to win the game. He added that Portugal would not take Morocco for granted.
Morocco call for Arabian support
It has been a strange World Cup, and despite not being one of the top dogs to win the World Cup, Portugal is still in the hunt for their first-ever Mundial. The Portuguese have talented players like Bruno Fernandes, Joao Felix and Cristiano Ronaldo. They beat Switzerland 6-1 in the round of 16.
Morocco have enjoyed plenty of support at the World Cup. Perhaps they are the best-supported nation in Qatar. As the Atlas Lions take on Portugal, Morocco’s coach Walid Regragui has called on the support of the rest of the Arab world to help bridge the gap in quality to Portugal.
Regragui said they could not achieve anything without the Moroccan public, and their support has been massive. He also said the backing of other African countries is vital to their progress.
In 1998, Morocco were in the same group as Spain and Portugal. They played a 2-2 draw with La Furia Roja and lost 1-0 to Portugal, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring the only goal. It is an opportunity to get revenge against their more illustrious opponents.
Bruno Fernandes believes Portugal has the quality to beat Morocco but says they will handle the game with the seriousness it requires.