Nigel de Jong accuses Portugal of being ‘really complacent’ against Morocco in the quarter-finals… while Graeme Souness hails the Atlas Lions for creating ‘history’ by becoming the first African nation to qualify for the semi-finals of the World Cup
Nigel de Jong has slammed Portugal for being “really complacent” after being knocked out of the World Cup by underdogs Morocco on Saturday.
Portugal qualified for the quarter-finals with a 6-1 win over Switzerland on Tuesday, but fell apart in their round of 16 against Morocco, Youssef En-Nesyri’s first-half header sealing a 1-0 win for the North African. side.
De Jong thinks Portugal are well below the standards they set against Switzerland and blamed it on the European side who underestimate Morocco.
Morocco picked up a shock win over Portugal to reach the World Cup semi-finals
Nigel de Jong thinks Portugal paid the price for being too complacent during the game
“They had a few chances, there was a good one for [Goncalo] Ramos. It wasn’t the Ramos we saw in the win against Switzerland,’ De Jong said on ITV.
‘[Bruno] Fernandes had a chance on the edge of the box. Morocco showed resilience as every time Portugal pulled the trigger it was on them which made it difficult. They were closing all the time.
“Portugal had the qualities but I think they were really complacent. Maybe they were thinking lightly of Morocco. The approach was not the same as we saw against Switzerland, the high-energy, high-octane approach.
It proved a bitterly disappointing result for Portugal, whose wait for a first World Cup continues, but it was a watershed moment for Morocco as they became the first African nation to reach the semi-finals of the tournament.
Graeme Souness was full of praise for the Atlas Lions, who he says handled the occasion brilliantly just four days after knocking out fellow heavyweight nation Spain on penalties .
“It’s part of the story,” Souness said.
Youssef En-Nesyri sealed Morocco’s victory with a header past goalkeeper Diogo Costa
Graeme Souness praised Morocco for successfully keeping Portugal at bay and making history
“I have to be honest, I thought Portugal will have looked at what happened to Spain and said ‘it won’t be us. We’ll put ourselves forward, we’ve got better strikers, we’ll score goals against them and it could be an easy night.”
‘But they didn’t do that. When you’re a player on the pitch, when the ball goes out of play, you drift around and start thinking “oh no, that’s happening.”
“When the goalkeeper arrives and you find yourself 1-0 down, alarm bells ring in your head. At no time was it the last resort for Morocco. came out very well.
Morocco’s run to the final was not easy after finishing top of a group including Croatia and Belgium before facing Spain and Portugal in the round of 16.
They have conceded just one goal throughout the tournament and will now face the winner of Saturday night’s game between England and France for a place in the final.