2018-06-20 08:28:04
Portugal vs. Morocco: World Cup 2018 Live

08:28, June 20 255 0

• Cristiano Ronaldo scored on a diving header in the fourth minute to give Portugal a 1-0 lead over Morocco.

• Refresh here for live updates and analysis from Russia.

• Here’s the 2018 World Cup schedule.

How to watch: In the U.S., Fox Sports 1 and Telemundo have the broadcast at 8 a.m. Eastern, but you can stream it here.

Benatia bumps into Ronaldo, and Ronaldo executes the “oh-I’m-injured” barrel roll. Three rotations. He’s fine.

Long-range effort by Ziyach of Morocco was saved. Portugal is going to want to get control of the ball a bit more. The thing is, if teams get enough shots and enough chances, the ball eventually goes in. Morocco is getting a lot of chances right now.

Andrew Das: Ronaldo is strolling mostly, or walking in the first half. His economy of movement, and effort, is remarkable. Sometimes he’ll just stand still, watching for a bit, then jog a few steps. But he only runs when he has to run, and those are the moments when everyone edges forward on their seat a little.

Morocco, as you might expect, is throwing everything at Portugal and it’s working. Ziyech and Boussoufa got close-in shots that drew saves.

The chances are coming thick and fast! A header from Benatia of Morocco, the captain, is saved at the corner of the net. Both teams are playing an open and aggressive brand of soccer.

Nearly two for Ronaldo. He dribbled right, shot left (through a defender’s legs), but it went barely wide. Morocco is in deep trouble here.

That was fast. Portugal took a tricky short corner, and Moutinho quickly stepped up to send it into the box. Who should be there to head it in but that man Cristiano Ronaldo? Goal No. 4 for him at this World Cup.

Andrew Das: How do you lose Cristiano Ronaldo on a corner? I mean, c’mon Morocco. Somehow, Manuel Da Costa fell for a stutter step, turned his head, and got beat. Any player at the World Cup buries a free header from six yards. Ronaldo? He lives for them.

Morocco started fast, whipping the ball downfield. Eventually new striker Boutaib got off a headed shot, which missed wide.

Portugal in a blinding all-white and Morocco in red with green shorts. Portugal have brought in the skillful midfielder Joao Mario. Three changes for Morocco, including the forward Khalid Boutaib and two new defenders, Dirar and Da Costa.

The Morocco fans are booing every mention of Ronaldo on the stadium loudspeakers and every sight of him on the stadium video screens. They just showed him in the tunnel, and it was the loudest one yet. But the Morocco players themselves seem pleased to see him; hugs all around, including from a smiling Noureddine Amrabat, who plays in La Liga.

Having two stadiums in Moscow has made the city a bit of a World Cup hub, and the matches here attractive to anyone and everyone. Lots of Portugal and Morocco jerseys and flags outside today, obviously, but also more guys in fezes than you normally see at a soccer game. But it’s the variety of shirts that is really striking. Jerseys spotted outside the stadium from teams not playing include: Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Japan, Germany, Croatia, Australia, Mexico again, and again, Russia, Real Madrid, Leicester CIty (!!!!), F.C. Köln. And then there’s this guy, who may have shown up in his Brazil shirt just to take pictures with pretty girls.

12. Mohamedi

2. Achraf Hakimi

4. Manuel da Costa

5. Mehdi Benatia

7. Hakim Ziyech

8. El Ahmadi

10. Younes Belhanda

13. Khalid Boutaïb

14. Moubarak Boussoufa

16. Nordin Amrabat

17. Nabil Dirar

1. Rui Patrício

3. Pepe

5. Guerreiro

6. Jose Fonte

7. Cristiano Ronaldo

8. Joao Moutinho

10. Joao Mario

11. Bernardo Silva

14. William Carvalho

17. Goncalo Guedes

21. Cedric Soares

• Portugal played hands down the most entertaining game of the first round of the World Cup in years, its 3-3 barnburner with Spain.

• As for the team’s superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo, ho-hum, he only had a hat trick: a penalty, a shot from open play and a free kick. What might he possibly do against Morocco?

• Morocco’s star, Hakim Ziyech, played well in his opener, but will need to make some magic in this game.

• Ronaldo’s wondergame came a few hours after the news emerged that he had agreed to pay the Spanish authorities $21.8 million in unpaid taxes.

• What The Times said: “Portugal is now best thought of as a nation established in 1128 so that it might one day produce Cristiano Ronaldo.”

• Portugal is the reigning European champion, but it was only eighth favorite for the Cup when the tournament began. Here are the current World Cup odds.

• Morocco dominated its opener against Iran, but was unlucky to lose to a late own goal by Aziz Bouhaddouz.

• What The Times said: “In the end, this poorly played game ended in the most appropriate fashion: with a substitute player putting the ball into the wrong net.”

• Iran are the surprise group leaders with 3 points, but Spain and Portugal still look like the most likely qualifiers with 1 point each. Morocco has a mountain to climb at 0 points with games against Spain and Portugal to come.