World Cup: Portugal 1 Morocco 0 - 5 things you need to know

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Fifa World Cup 2018 group B football match between Portugal and Morocco.
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Fifa World Cup 2018 group B football match between Portugal and Morocco.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Cristiano Ronaldo wrote his name multiple times in the record book as his lone goal proved the difference between the two sides in a 1-0 win for Portugal over Morocco on Wednesday (June 20).

The 4th minute header was his 85th for Portugal, breaking a tie for most international goals from a European player with Hungarian legend Ferenc Puskas.

Ronaldo also became the first Portugal player since Jose Torres in 1966 to score with his head, left foot and right foot in a single World Cup tournament.

Beyond records, Ronaldo also broke the hearts of valiant Morocco who became the first team to be knocked out of the World Cup, despite arguably having been the better team in both their games so far.

Here's the lowdown on the game:

1. THE GOALS

Portugal 1 (Ronaldo 4th) Morocco 0

 
 
 
 

2. THE WOW MOMENT

Ronaldo could not have scripted a better beginning for himself and his country as he stooped to thump a firm header into the Moroccan goal from a Joao Moutinho delivery. Portugal were the poorer team but that's what Cristiano Ronaldo gives you - moments of individual brilliance that end up making the difference. He now leads the race for the World Cup Golden Boot with four goals and also has the two quickest goals so far.

3. THE TALKING POINT

Neutral fans will feel for Morocco, who are now stuck with the thoroughly undeserved label of the first team to be knocked out of this World Cup. That this has happened without them managing a goal is mildly upsetting. They lost 0-1 to Iran in their first game from an own goal despite almost 70 per cent of possession and they were the superior team again against Portugal, creating more chances (16 shots to 10) and showing more desire.


Morocco's defender Achraf Hakimi (left) and Morocco's midfielder Hakim Ziyech react at the end of the match. PHOTO: AFP

Wingers Nordin Amrabat and Hakim Ziyech sparkled all-match on the flank with deft touches and clever runs, and skipper Mehdi Benatia left us wondering if he was a striker in disguise but the North Africans just could not find a way past Portuguese custodian Rui Patricio. Morocco may just have paid the price for lacking a top-tier hitman - their starting striker was the unheralded Khalid Boutaib who turns out for Turkish side Yeni Malatyaspor

4. THE STAR


Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his opening goal for Portugal. PHOTO: AFP

Cristiano Ronaldo, who has only enhanced his already legendary status. He was largely anonymous in the second half but no one will remember that 10 years into the future, only the records he broke.

5. WHAT THE RESULT MEANS


(From left) Portugal's Pepe, William Carvalho, Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes celebrate after winning the match. PHOTO: AFP

Portugal's win moves them to the top of Group B with four points, before the Spain-Iran game later in the day. Morocco have been knocked out of the World Cup as the most they can muster at this juncture is three points. Whatever the result later between Spain and Iran, at least one side will end up with four points, meaning it is now mathematically impossible for Morocco to progress and Group B is now a three-horse race.