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World Cup: Regragui hopes Portugal's 'Ronaldo does not play against Morocco'

7:03 pm AEDT 10/12/22
Cristiano Ronaldo bench Portugal 2022
Morocco coach Walid Regragui has claimed he will be delighted to face Portugal in their 2022 World Cup clash without Cristiano Ronaldo.
  • Ronaldo started from the bench vs Switzerland
  • Morocco will face Portugal in the quarter-finals
  • Regragui hopes Ronaldo does not start

WHAT HAPPENED? Against Switzerland in the round of 16 fixture, the 37-year-old Ronaldo started from the bench before coming on in the 74th minute as the Selecao went on to win 6-1 and qualify for the quarter-finals.

Ahead of the Morocco vs Portugal clash at Al Thumama Stadium on Saturday, Regragui has said he will be happy to see Ronaldo benched again because he is 'one of the greatest ever'.

WHAT HE SAID? “It’s a big challenge against one of the best teams in the world. They could field two or three high-quality teams at this World Cup," Regragui told reporters as quoted by The National.

“They might be a bit fresher than our guys. I’m not sure if Cristiano Ronaldo plays but I hope he doesn’t. He’s one of the greatest ever and I’d be delighted if he didn’t play against us.”

WHAT IS MORE? The 47-year-old Regragui is, however, confident the North Africans are ready to write another chapter against the Selecao.

“We’ve already proven all the data analysts wrong about Belgium’s chance and Spain too. They all thought we’d lose to them," he said, adding: “We have already achieved great things, but we feel it’s not enough. We want to go further.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Morocco qualified for the knockout stage without losing a match in the group phase. They drew 0-0 against Croatia, stunned Belgium 2-0 before defeating Canada 2-1.

In the round of 16, they came up against Spain and defeated them 3-0 on penalties after a 0-0 score in normal and extra time.

WHAT NEXT FOR MOROCCO? They will face the Selecao in the quarter-finals on Saturday.