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Morocco becomes first African country to reach World Cup semifinals as it topples Portugal

The 37-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo, one of soccer’s greatest players, didn’t start for the second straight game but came on as a substitute in the 51st minute.

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Morocco became the first African country to reach the World Cup semifinals by beating Portugal 1-0 on Saturday, likely ending Cristiano Ronaldo’s chances of winning soccer’s biggest prize.

Youssef En-Nesyri scored the winning goal in the 42nd minute to continue Morocco’s improbable run that has generated an outpouring of pride in the Arab world during the first World Cup to be staged in the Middle East.

The 37-year-old Ronaldo, one of soccer’s greatest players, didn’t start for the second straight game but came on as a substitute in the 51st minute.

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after Portugal's loss to Morocco during in Doha, Qatar on Saturday.Patricia de Melo Moreira / AFP via Getty Images

The five-time world player of the year is set to finish his career without capturing the World Cup or ever getting to the final.

Morocco will play either France or England in the semifinals.

It is a seminal moment in World Cup history, with an African nation finally advancing to the levels typically only reached by European or South American teams. Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002) and Ghana (2010) all reached the quarterfinals but got no further.