A number of bold selection calls worked in favor of veteran manager Fernando Santos as the Selecao eliminated Switzerland in the round of 16 on Tuesday, with Goncalo Ramos taking center stage with a hat-trick in a 6- 1.
The performance left Ronaldo on the bench once again, testing Portugal’s claim that the 37-year-old will be happy to play a minor role in Qatar’s World Cup climax.
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Portugal and Ronaldo have both denied threatening to leave after being dropped against the Swiss, with Santos unhappy with his star player’s reaction to being substituted against South Korea in the group stage final .
Santos continue to rule out Joao Cancelo, favoring Raphael Guerreiro and Diogo Dalot at full-back with Nuno Mendes injured.
Danilo Pereira is injured along with Pepe in the XI following his goal in the round of 16. Otavio has returned with a bang and continues in central midfield, with Ruben Neves beating William Carvalho to start.
As for Morocco, the dazzling success of Walid Regragui is partly due to a very stable composition and approach.
West Ham defender Nayef Aguerd is out after being sent off in the round of 16, Jawad El Yamiq is his replacement. Yahia Attiyat Allah replaces Noussair Mazraoui at left-back.
Morocco XI (4-3-3): Bono; Hakimi, El Yamiq, Saiss, Attiyat Allah; Amrabat, Amallah, Ounahi; Ziyech, En-Nesyri, Boufal.
Portugal XI (4-2-3-1): Coast; Dalot, Pepe, Dias, Guerreiro; Neves, Otavio; Silva, Fernandes, Felix; Ramos.