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Has an African side reached the World Cup semi finals before?

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Morocco continued their incredible journey at the 2022 World Cup by beating Portugal in the quarter finals to reach the final four of the tournament.

The Atlas Lions have excelled throughout the competition, winning Group F ahead of the likes of Croatia, Belgium and Canada before triumphing over Spain on penalties in the last 16.

Cheered on by African and Arab nations around the world, Morocco produced a wonderful display to beat Portugal 1-0 thanks to Youssef En-Nesyri’s strike and an enormous defensive effort led by goalkeeper Bono.

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Morocco’s success at the 2022 World Cup is historic. In reaching the semi finals, the Atlas Lions have become the first African and Arab team to make the final four in the competition’s storied history.

Morocco (2022) – semi finals

FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022"Morocco v Portugal"

Morocco have created history / ANP/GettyImages

Morocco showed their discipline in their opener against draw specialists Croatia, taking a point from a goalless draw before beating both Belgium and Canada.

Walid Regragui’s side took on Spain in the last 16. After an even 120 minutes, Pablo Sarabia, Carlos Soler and Sergio Busquets all missed from the penalty spot before Achraf Hakimi ensured their progression to the semi finals.

Another mammoth task awaited them in the quarter finals in Portugal. However, the Atlas Lions were not overawed by the occasion and took the lead when Youssef En-Nesyri capitalised on a defensive mess to head in.

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Portugal couldn’t respond, resulting in Morocco’s progression to the final four to achieve the best run from an African side in World Cup history. And it’s not over just yet.

Cameroon (1990) – quarter finals

Emile Mbouh Mbouh, Cyrille Makananaky, Louis Mfede, Stephen Tataw, Roger Milla

Cameroon were led by Roger Milla at Italia ’90 / GERARD FOUET/GettyImages

Cameroon only debuted at the World Cup as an independent nation in 1982, when they drew all three group games 0-0 and were eliminated early on. Eight years later, however, they enjoyed a memorable run to the quarter finals.

Francois Omam-Biyik scored in a 1-0 opening win over Argentina before Roger Milla stole the show. Then 38, the striker came off the bench to score two late goals in the 2-1 victory over Romania before a 4-0 defeat to the Soviet Union.

Cameroon went through as group winners and defeated Colombia in the last 16 after extra time, with Milla again scoring twice.

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They exited at the quarter-final stage after an all-time classic with England. David Platt had the Three Lions 1-0 up at half time but Emmanuel Kunde’s penalty and Eugene Ekeke’s strike put the Lions of Teranga ahead in the space of five second-half minutes.

A Gary Lineker penalty forced extra time before the former Barcelona striker scored again from the spot to eliminate Senegal and take England into the semi finals.

Senegal (2002) – quarter finals

Members of the Senegal team celebrate after scorin

Senegal famously beat France in 2002 / PATRICK HERTZOG/GettyImages

Making the quarter finals is incredibly impressive on a first attempt and that’s what Senegal did in 2002.

A famous 1-0 win over France courtesy of Papa Bouba Diop in their group opener helped Senegal finish second, behind Denmark and ahead of Uruguay and Les Bleus. They drew their last two group games, including a 3-3 belter with Uruguay.

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They faced Sweden in the last 16 and were 1-0 down in 11 minutes when Henrik Larsson struck, but Henri Camara equalised before half time and the game would go to extra time. The former Wolves and Wigan striker then netted a golden goal, taking them through to the quarters with the last kick of the game.

However, they experienced just how cruel elimination via that method can be in the last eight, as Ilhan Mansiz ended the game four minutes into extra time with his goal.

Ghana (2010) – quarter finals

Soccer - FIFA World Cup 2010 - Quarterfinals - Ghana vs. Uruugay

The 2010 World Cup ended in heartbreak for Ghana / Matthew Ashton/GettyImages

Ghana reached the knockout stages of the World Cup at the first attempt in 2006. Their reward? A last 16 tie with Brazil. They weren’t successful that year as Ronaldo, Adriano and Ze Roberto all struck in a 3-0 defeat.

2010 proved to be a memorable tournament for the Black Stars, though their quarter-final finish remains tinged by thoughts of what might have been.

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Two penalties from Asamoah Gyan helped Ghana pick up four points from their opening two games against Serbia and Australia before defeat to Germany saw them finish as group runners up.

They needed extra time to see off the United States in the last 16. The two sides have faced each other four years earlier when Ghana won 2-1 and they would produce the same scoreline in Rustenburg. Extra time was required after goals from Kevin Prince-Boateng and Landon Donovan before Gyan netted the winner.

Ghana faced Uruguay in the quarter finals. Sulley Muntari had his side 1-0 up but Diego Forlan’s effort saw the game go to extra time.

A deep hatred for Luis Suarez came out of the tie as the former Barcelona striker batted away a goal-bound effort with his hands in extra time. He was sent off but celebrated Gyan’s before the South Americans triumphed 4-2 in the penalty shootout.

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EPL

Cody Gakpo reflects on first month at Liverpool

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Liverpool forward Cody Gakpo has opened up on his first month on the books at Anfield, admitting he is still getting used to Jurgen Klopp’s tactics.

The Dutchman was wanted by a number of elite sides, with Manchester United expected to win the race for his signature, but it was Liverpool who snuck in and agreed to pay an initial £35m to bring Gakpo to England.

The 23-year-old, who made his name as a left winger but has spent time as a striker at Liverpool, is yet to score after four appearances for his new side, but he told club media that is it just a matter of getting to grips with his new surroundings

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“My feeling, personally, is everyone in the team has so much quality,” he said. “That is what I see in training and in phases in the games.

“It is also a part of football, that sometimes things don’t work out exactly the way you want them to. We just have to keep improving, working hard, and the quality will come out. Then, you’re going to see the real Liverpool.”

He continued: “From a football perspective, it’s a new environment on the pitch, with new players and a new team. I can tell it’s a really great group. Every day I am looking forward to working with them, to train hard and to play the games. I am trying to adapt as quickly as possible, to improve every day and in the end show the best version of myself.

“Off the pitch, to be honest, I haven’t been in the city so many times yet. Most of the time I have been in the hotel. I am moving this week, actually. That’s also something I’m looking forward to.”

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Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth to discuss the latest transfer news. On today’s agenda: Dusan Vlahovic, Anthony Gordon, Enzo Fernandes, Amadou Onana, Malo Gusto, Nicolo Zaniolo, Pedro Porro, Weston McKennie, Milan Skriniar, Maiximo Perrone & more!

If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

Gakpo also confessed that he is still trying to adapt to his new role in Liverpool’s team.

“It is a little bit different to what I’m used to,” the Dutchman admitted. “Normally, I have played on the left for almost the past three years.

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“It’s something I can improve, playing in the striker role, and I want to show my quality there. It’s a great position and playing there makes me more complete as a technical player.





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Fulham launch bid Fluminense midfielder Andre

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Fulham have made a bid to sign Fluminense midfielder Andre, 90min understands.

The 21-year-old has quickly established himself as one of Fluminense’s top players and a number of sides across Europe have expressed an interest in luring him away from his homeland in 2023.

Sources have confirmed to 90min that Fulham have approached Fluminense to try and thrash out a deal, but the Brazilian side are reluctant to part ways with their star player during the 2023 campaign.

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Andre, who has been linked with the likes of Barcelona and Liverpool, has spoken out about the interest and insisted his focus remains solely on his current employers.

“Obviously, I’m focused and very happy,” Andre said recently. “I just renewed my contract until 2026.

“It’s normal to get offers, but I’m focused here on Fluminense and having an excellent season.”

Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth to discuss the latest transfer news. On today’s agenda: Dusan Vlahovic, Anthony Gordon, Enzo Fernandes, Amadou Onana, Malo Gusto, Nicolo Zaniolo, Pedro Porro, Weston McKennie, Milan Skriniar, Maiximo Perrone & more!

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If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

Andre’s agent, Carlos Leite, also took to Instagram to confirm that the 21-year-old had agreed to remain with Fluminense until the end of the current campaign, which runs over the entire calendar year.

“Thanks to the great work carried out, Andre entered the radars of some of the biggest European clubs and, with that, he has received several enquiries and some official proposals,” Leite wrote.

“However, the player and Fluminense, through president Mario Bittencourt, sealed an agreement for the midfielder to remain at the club at this time, with all the dedication and commitment, always seeking the best for Fluminense in all competitions.”

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Sporting CP manager makes Pedro Porro admission as Tottenham talks continue

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Sporting CP manager Ruben Amorim has warned Tottenham that he will not take right-back Pedro Porro out of his starting lineup until a transfer has been 100% agreed.

90min understands Tottenham are confident they will get a deal over the line for the 23-year-old eventually, but Sporting’s reluctance to budge from their asking price of Porro’s €45m release clause has led to some lengthy negotiations which are not yet over.

And while Porro is still contracted to Sporting, Amorim will not hesitate to use the right-back and risk an injury which could see the entire move collapse.

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“Porro does not leave before the game,” Amorim said ahead of Saturday’s Allianz Cup final against Porto. “Clubs have to come first, and as far as I know, a player who is able to play and is signed up by a club, he has to go to games.

“I realise that [negotiations] involve a lot of players’ minds, but the indication I have is that Porro is fit, and the most important thing for me, as a manager, is that if he wasn’t there, there would be someone else. The game cannot be played with just one player. Porro is fit. Whatever has to happen will happen, we are prepared for all scenarios.”

Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth to discuss the latest transfer news. On today’s agenda: Dusan Vlahovic, Anthony Gordon, Enzo Fernandes, Amadou Onana, Malo Gusto, Nicolo Zaniolo, Pedro Porro, Weston McKennie, Milan Skriniar, Maiximo Perrone & more!

If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

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Amorim continued: “Is this Porro’s last game at the club? I don’t know. There are a few days left until February 1, then everyone will know if Porro stays or leaves.

“Porro hasn’t left yet. We are scouting, but not everything is easy, you’re in a real hurry to send Porro away!”

Spurs have repeatedly tried to lower Sporting’s asking price for Porro by including at least one player in the deal, but the Portuguese side have been clear about their determination to hold out for the right-back’s release clause – in full.





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