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ITV Pundits Disagree On Portugal 'Complacency' During Morocco Loss

ITV Pundits Disagree On Portugal 'Complacency' During Morocco Loss
By Gary Connaughton Updated
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At the start of this tournament, very few people would have tipped Morocco as potential dark horses.

Their record in recent years had been mixed, with the team failing to win a game at the 2018 World Cup. As well as that, they had only reached the quarter-finals at AFCON earlier this year and changed just managers a few months before this tournament.

Now, they have made history.

Morocco are the first ever African nation to reach the semi-final of the World Cup after a brilliant 1-0 victory over Portugal this afternoon.

While their opponents dominated possession, there is no doubt that they deserved the result. They defended brilliantly and gave up very few chances, with Youssaf En-Nesyri's first half header proving to be the difference between the sides.

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For Portugal, this seems like a missed opportunity. They entered the fixture as strong favourites but failed to perform on the day.

As much as Morocco deserve huge credit for their performance, questions must also be asked about the Portuguese.

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ITV pundits disagree over Portugal 'complacency'

Having hammered Switzerland in the last-16 and going with the same starting XI for this fixture, Portugal would have fancied their chances of advancing to the semi-finals.

However, they never clicked in the attacking third. Could this come down to complacency due to the opposition they faced?

Speaking on ITV after the game, former Netherlands midfielder Nigel de Jong said that there was more than a hint of complacency about Portugal's performance. Graeme Souness wasn't so sure, believing that all came down to the efforts of the opposition.

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Souness: Sometimes when you're on the pitch in the quieter moments, your brain starts to drift and think 'oh no, this is happening'. When the goalkeeper comes and doesn't get anywhere near that cross and you're 1-0 down, the alarm bells start ringing (for Portugal). They huffed and puffed, but at no time was it last-ditch tackles from Morocco.

They had a couple of chances, by and large, because of their determination, aggression, and organisation, Morocco handled it very well...

Every time Portugal came near to the Moroccan goal, they were sprinting at them and making them hurry passes and shots...

De Jong: [Portugal] have the quality, but I think they were really complacent. They were really complacent. They were thinking in a slight way, we will overcome Morocco. Their approach was not the same as the one we saw against Switzerland. That was high energy, high octane, always pressing.

Souness: I think you have to give Morocco credit.  Morocco weren't doing any high pressing, they were just sitting there. Every time Portugal got the ball they were back in numbers. It's okay to say that, but what generally happens if you're constantly bringing a team onto you is that someone will go to sleep at a vital time.

None of them went to sleep at any vital times tonight. To a man, they were awake to every bit of danger. They did it with so much determination and passion. They were fighting for a cause, that was more than a football match to these guys.

They knew they had a real chance of making history tonight and they've gone and done it.

Morocco will now face into a World Cup semi-final, where they will be underdogs once again.

From what we have seen in this tournament so far, that is certainly no reason to write them off.

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