Chelsea star Hakim Ziyech sets World Cup record as Morocco beat Portugal

Photo: Getty images

Chelsea star Hakim Ziyech made World Cup history with his Moroccan teammates as they became the first African side to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup.

Morocco beat Portugal 1-0 in the quarter-finals on Saturday thanks to a goal from Sevilla striker Youssef En-Nesyri, with Ziyech playing 82 minutes in the game.

Ziyech is also the second Chelsea player to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup after Mateo Kovacic reached the semi-finals of the tournament with Croatia following their victory over Brazil.

Morocco will face the winner of the clash between England and France in the semi-finals of the World Cup while the other semi-final clash is between Croatia and Argentina.

Meanwhile, Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal has praised Ziyech and feels he has fully justified his return to the Moroccan national team with his performances at the World Cup.

“Well I can’t judge [axed Spain boss] Luis Enrique nor can I judge or assess your head coach [Regragui],” Van Gaal said.

“But I can answer the other question by talking about Ziyech for instance. He was of course trained in the Netherlands and Ziyech is a wonderful player.

“He makes an enormous contribution to the Moroccan squad and before this new head coach came in he wasn’t being played, so that says something about the head coach.

“I think it’s great that Morocco has advanced in the World Cup because Morocco is not known for being a top football country.

“But in general if we look at the Moroccan players in our league [Eredivisie], usually they are technically very skilled and I think it’s always a pleasure to watch them play football.”