"They were one of the favorites" - Portugal superstar surprised by Spain's 2022 FIFA World Cup elimination against Morocco

Bernardo Silva left shocked by Spain
Bernardo Silva left shocked by Spain's World Cup exit

Portugal ace Bernardo Silva has expressed his surprise at Spain’s elimination from the 2022 FIFA World Cup, claiming that they were one of the pre-tournament favorites.

Spain opened their campaign with an emphatic 7-0 victory over Costa Rica in Group E. They drew 1-1 with Germany in their next outing before succumbing to a 2-1 defeat to Japan in their final Group E clash. Finishing second behind Japan in their group landed Spain in front of Group F winners Morocco in the last 16.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup winners were expected to progress at the African nation’s expense but ultimately came up short. Sergio Busquets, Carlos Soler, and Pablo Sarabia failed to convert their penalties in the shootout, leading to a 3-0 victory for Morocco on penalties (0-0 after extra time).

Silva, who started in Portugal’s 6-1 win over Switzerland in the last 16, didn’t anticipate Spain’s premature exit.

🇵🇹 @BernardoCSilva, con @RuizAntonito:🇪🇸 "Me sorprende la eliminación, España era una de las favoritas"🇲🇦 "Muy contento con Portugal. Queremos estar en semifinales, pero jugamos contra un equipo que ha demostrado hoy, otra vez, que es muy fuerte"📻 #COPEMundial

Following his team’s emphatic win over Switzerland, the Manchester City midfielder said:

“The elimination surprises me, Spain was one of the favorites.”

Silva added that he was ecstatic with Portugal’s victory but warned everyone about Morocco’s quality.

“Very happy with Portugal. We want to be in the semifinals, but we're playing against a team that has shown, once again, today that it's very strong.”

Portugal and Morocco will go toe-to-toe for a place in the semi-finals on Saturday, December 10.

Portugal could struggle to breach Morocco’s defense in the 2022 FIFA World Cup quarter-finals

A sensational Goncalo Ramos hat-trick alongside a goal each from Pepe, Raphael Guerreiro and Rafael Leao fired Portugal to a comfortable 6-1 win over Switzerland. Morocco, on the other hand, needed a penalty shootout to come out on top against La Roja.

On paper, the contest might seem like a mismatch, but Morocco have the quality to make the 2022 FIFA World Cup clash too close to call. The Atlas Lions have an abundance of pace at their disposal and are capable of taking the fight to the opposition. However, it is their ability to hold firm that sets them apart.

Morocco fans celebrate across the world 🇲🇦

Spain enjoyed a staggering 77% possession on Tuesday night and had 13 shots. For all their possession and attacking impedance, Luis Enrique’s side only lodged one shot on target against Morocco in the 2022 FIFA World Cup Round of 16. The underdogs blocked a whopping five shots, made 26 tackles, cleared the ball 41 times and intercepted eight passes.

If they can press as hard and close down spaces as they did against Spain, Morocco will not be an easy nut to crack for Portugal.

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Edited by Sushan Chakraborty
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