How the Arab world celebrated Morocco’s win | Qatar World Cup 2022 News
The fairy tale of the Moroccan World Cup continues to fascinate football lovers after the Lions of Atlas beat Portugal 1-0 to qualify for the semi-finals of the tournament.
In the Arab world, Saturday’s win felt especially sweet, with Morocco’s advance marking the first time an Arab or African nation reached the last four in its 92-year history. World Cup.
Casablanca, a port city in western Morocco, saw a scene of jubilation as people poured into the streets to celebrate their country’s spectacular victory.
“It’s all electric. Everyone here has been dancing, celebrating and it will continue all night long,” Al Jazeera reporter Nicolas Haque reports from Casablanca.
While thousands of Moroccan fans have traveled to Qatar to cheer the Atlas Lions on, other supporters have made the opposite journey, wanting to feel the fiery atmosphere enveloping the North. Phi, he added.
Haque said: “Two families flew in from Saudi Arabia, another from Qatar came here in Morocco and were among the Moroccans to experience this moment.
“And there will be a lot of people who want to come here to see history in the making.”
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Adnane Bennis, chief executive officer of English-language news website Morocco World News, said “there are no words” to fully describe what Morocco’s victory over Portugal means for the country. , Africa and the wider Arab region.
“It was huge for us. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw us qualify for the semi-finals,” Bennis told Al Jazeera from Rabat, Morocco’s capital.
“We won’t sleep tonight,” he added, saying that Moroccans – both within the country and those living abroad – will be busy celebrating their victory until dawn.
“This is a great victory for Morocco, a historic victory and it is not a coincidence. We believe in ourselves, we believe in our squad… The dream is still alive, the journey is still on and now we are just two wins away from winning the World Cup.”
Joy in Gaza
There are similar outpourings of joy across the region.
In the besieged Gaza Strip, the largest sports arena in the coastal region was packed with thousands of people cheering for Morocco.
Reporting from the venue, Youmna ElSayed of Al Jazeera said those present viewed the historic result as a victory for “all Arab nations”.
“They scream, they clap, they beat the drums, they sing. And then when the final whistle blew, thousands of people took to the streets to start celebrating and show their support, joy and happiness for Morocco,” she said.
“Dozens of fans we spoke to tonight told us how important this game is to them,” ElSayed added.
In Qatar, the country that hosted the first World Cup to be held in the Middle East, Moroccan fans say their greatest hopes and dreams have been surpassed by the mesmerizing journey of the Lions of Atlas. to the final round of four, where they will face England or France on December 14.
“This is a great game. [coach] Walid Regragui’s team was very tactical and the whole team showed their quality,” fan Abdul Aziz told Al Jazeera from Doha’s Souq Waqif, where supporters were unable to purchase tickets to the show. at Al Thumama Stadium gathered to watch the match on TV.
“They played two different games in two halves, the first half was the one they wanted to win by at least one goal, and the second half was a very tactical performance,” he added. “And they deserved to win.”
Morocco’s clean sheet capped a resolute defensive performance in Qatar, which saw them play for more than seven hours without conceding a single opposing player.
Hussein, a Bahraini national, said he was extremely proud of the result.
“I am very happy – this is the first time the World Cup has been held in an Arab country, and now we have an Arab team reaching the semi-finals for the first time,” he told Al Jazeera at Souq Waqif. “I am very proud of this. It’s amazing.”
Supporters in the Iraqi capital Baghdad also applauded Morocco’s win, set by Youssef En Nesyri’s crucial header in the 42nd minute.
“People here are celebrating, and they will continue to celebrate overnight,” said Mahmoud Abdelwahed of Al Jazeera, reporting from Baghdad.
“They say this victory is symbolic because it is not only for Morocco but for the entire African continent, the entire Arab world and the entire Middle East region,” he added.
“People are very excited… They say it feels like Iraq won the battle today.”