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“Cristiano Ronaldo’s time in the elite seems to be over, although he does not give up” | Portugal vs. Switzerland | Portugal vs. Morocco | World Cup Qatar 2022 | RMMD DTCC | WORLD

It is difficult to explain joy, emotion, frenzy… They are intangible assets that concern the soul. The brain receives several gigabytes of information, the circumstance adheres to it, processes everything, mixes it with the past, with what we are, and responds with the soul. That’s where the Moroccan celebration came from. It was Morocco country screaming mad. Here there were twenty thousand, in the homeland there were thirty-eight million jumping, hugging each other, running to the squares to gather to vent their happiness. They had pushed Spain off the World Cup train. They lowered it. The country that was a Spanish protectorate got him out of the Cup giving a new unexpected blow in the World Cup of surprises. For the first time in history, Morocco reaches the quarterfinals. A historical milestone in the competition. And sinking its former colonizer.

The Moroccan teams celebrated with the Palestinian flag after beating Spain on penalties.

The Moroccan teams celebrated with the Palestinian flag after beating Spain on penalties.

The Moroccan fans in the stands had their eyes bulging out of their sockets, their tonsils showing in the scream, leaning so far out of the retaining rails that they seemed to fall. There is no human activity that promotes a sense of belonging like soccer. A real mystery. Fans and players came willing to win this game. In the stands the Moroccans won 7 to 3 in number and in decibels of breath, on the field they showed an impressive ardor. In a very intense duel, more like a battle than a game, it seemed that Morocco was losing its life on the pitch. He left everything. And although they finished 0-0, it was closer to victory if we count Cheddari’s two heads-up against Unai Simón.

Then came the extra time and, finally, the drama of the penalties. Whoever kicks first, if he converts, has a psychological advantage over the other, who is always behind trying to match. And the Moroccan Sabiri was right. After him, Sarabia was executed, whom Luis Enrique brought in at 118 ′ exclusively for the round of shots, because he is a specialist, and he hit the post. Then, that magnificent goalkeeper that is Bono, a Canadian son of Moroccans who spent his entire career in Spain, entered the scene and saved two shots. It is inadmissible for a team to miss all three shots it takes. There was no test, knowing that in direct elimination matches there are high probabilities of going to this type of definition.

Morocco makes history: eliminated Spain and continues in the World Cup race

Morocco makes history: eliminated Spain and continues in the World Cup race

/ Daniel Apuy @photo.gec

Spain got as far as it could, according to the players it has: no stars. The best is Pedri, a 20-year-old boy with lucid handling of the ball, although without imbalance, in addition to playing away from the opponent’s goal. The super influential Spanish journalism promoted his selection for larger companies without a supporting base. He is not at the level of France, Brazil, England, Portugal, Holland or Argentina. He could argue with Germany, as he did, perhaps with Belgium or Switzerland. And he won the game that he could win: against Costa Rica. Despite the fierce criticism dedicated to Luis Enrique, if Spain aspired to any glory, it was precisely because of the audacity of its coach. He was the most fearsome rival for the opponents, due to his tremendous offensive vocation.

After winning the 2010 World Cup, Spain has barely been able to get three victories in the following editions. Against Australia, Iran and Costa Rica. Three out of 11 presentations. And against which rivals… Morocco knew that it was not impossible to beat them: they had already met in Russia 2018, also with a draw: 2-2. The Maghrebis won 2-1 until minute 91, when Spain equalized. This time he missed it by a hair’s breadth. Now it’s Portugal’s turn, which comes from a super win against Switzerland 6-1, however, its morale is in the stratosphere and it is capable of a feat: putting African football for the first time in the semifinal of a World Cup. Each day of Qatar 2022 holds a new astonishment and is marked by the pairing between young and old.

Cristiano Ronaldo was a substitute and entered in the 73rd minute against Switzerland, when Portugal was already winning 5-1.  (Photo: AFP)

Cristiano Ronaldo was a substitute and entered in the 73rd minute against Switzerland, when Portugal was already winning 5-1. (Photo: AFP)

/ PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA

Then would come the second course, Portugal-Switzerland, unmissable due to the announcement that, for the first time in eighteen years, Cristiano Ronaldo would be a substitute in the Portuguese team. This created a surreal scene: two hundred photographers unaware of the teams, standing in front of the Portugal bank waiting for Cristiano Ronaldo to leave to photograph him seated. And the one who came on for him against Switzerland, Gonçalo Ramos, scored three goals and provided an assist. When Ramos scored the first, the Portuguese substitutes jumped off the bench euphorically, CR7 did not move. His time in the elite seems to be ending (or finished), although he does not give up and hopes to score one more goal to equal Eusebio as Portugal’s top scorer in World Cups. In the match against Uruguay, DT Fernando Santos had substituted him and then there was a penalty in his favour, which CR7 missed executing. Then he replaced him again against Korea and this generated the wrath of the divo: “You’re in a hurry to kick me out, fuck you!” He muttered to Santos as he left. Portuguese TV caught it. At the press conference prior to Switzerland, one of the channel’s envoys asked the coach, who replied: “I didn’t see anything on the field, but what I saw later on television I didn’t like at all. We have resolved this issue between us. Now we have to think about the future.”

Gonçalo Ramos justified the substitution of Cristiano Ronaldo with a hat-trick.  (PHOTO: AFP)

Gonçalo Ramos justified the substitution of Cristiano Ronaldo with a hat-trick. (PHOTO: AFP)

This, together with the fact that three quarters of the fans were demanding Cristiano’s substitution, determined that he would come out as a substitute. He came on in the 73rd minute, and although Portugal scored six goals, he couldn’t add. On top of that, Gonçalo Ramos took the ball from the match for his hat-trick.

Already in the game, Portugal deciphered the Swiss banking secret and melted it down: not only did they send him out of the Cup, they gave him six goals. Six to one is a strange result in the quarterfinals, especially since Switzerland had come from beating Serbia with authority 3 to 2. On that side, they surprised. Not for Portugal’s. The engineer Fernando Santos has been in charge of the green and red teams for eight long years, he hardly needs to give technical talks, the players have internalized his script and they do well in all international tournaments. With him they have been champions of the Eurocup and the League of Nations. And now he has a very rich squad, full of young figures who succeed throughout Europe. He is among the five favorites to win the Cup. Watch out for Portugal, who is running from behind…

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