Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Moroccans celebrate after historic World Cup victory

Rabat ( Associated Press) – Jubilant Moroccans took to the streets of this capital and several cities across Europe to celebrate their country’s soccer team’s historic victory over Spain at the World Cup on Tuesday.

Waving flags and honking their car horns, fans celebrated the victory of the Atlas Lions on penalties, which made Morocco the only non-European or South American team to reach the quarter-finals in Qatar.

Never before has an Arab team made it to the top eight stage of a World Cup.

“We are very proud of our Lions, who fought hard to get us through to the quarter-finals,” said Rabat-based Niama Meddon. “We are happy to be Morocco today, because we are the first Arab country to reach the quarter-finals.”

According to a statement, King Mohammed VI of Morocco praised the national team and offered “heartfelt congratulations” to the footballers, coaching staff and administrative staff, “who gave their all and paved the way for this great sporting event.” Raj Bhavan.

The monarch said that the players “represent the hopes and dreams of Moroccans in Morocco, Qatar or anywhere else in the world.”

Morocco is the only Arab or African country still in the running for the first World Cup to be held in the Middle East. Its success has resonated throughout the Arab world as well as among other expatriate communities in Morocco and Europe.

In Barcelona, ​​Spain’s second largest city, crowds of young people waved Moroccan, Egyptian, Algerian and Palestinian flags. There, Barcelona fans usually celebrate a resounding victory.

People danced fiercely to the tune of drums, while some people also lit sparklers.

In a restaurant in Barcelona where there was a gathering of customers, people jumped over tables and raised chairs. Outside, car horns blared and people set off firecrackers and green and red smoke bombs.

Youssef Lotfi, a 39-year-old construction worker, was born in Casablanca but moved to Spain as a child. He said he felt love for both countries, but celebrated it proudly.

“Today is a day of joy for everyone in Morocco and the Arab world,” Lotfi said. “It was a heart-wrenching ending that could have favored anyone.”

He considered the victory a “once in a lifetime” experience.

“Morocco represents the whole Arab world, the whole African continent. It is indescribable, it is the most spectacular part”, he remarked.

In Ceuta, the Spanish enclave bordering Morocco on the North African coast, there were also victory celebrations. The population of Ceuta is a mixture of Spaniards, Moroccan residents and workers.

“That pride! What a joy! Now, to celebrate with friends. I’ve lost my voice,” said 20-year-old Ismail Mustafa. “We were able to settle it. What about Spain? I’m sure he’ll win next time, so don’t worry.”

Celebrations across Spain, where there are about 800,000 Moroccan residents, were mostly peaceful. Some Spanish media reported a brief scuffle between Moroccan and Spanish fans at a bar in the southern city of Huelva.

There were no reports of injuries or arrests.

Nation World News Desk
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