Morocco’s dream of becoming the first African representative to compete in the World Cup final was shattered by France. Morocco surrendered to the defending champions of the tournament, 0-2, in the semifinals of the 2022 World Cup on Thursday.
The team nicknamed the Lions of Atlas had fallen behind during the match at the Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor, it was just the fifth minute. It was my French defender, Theo Hernandez, who was able to tear the Moroccan goal.
Morocco’s efforts to score a goal always ran aground. France’s victory was finally confirmed via Kolo Muani’s goal which took advantage of Kylian Mbappe’s assist in the 79th minute.
Morocco was forced to end its impressive journey at the 2022 World Cup. Walid Reragui’s team managed to beat Belgium, Spain and Portugal on their way to the semifinals. Morocco successfully beat FIFA’s second place, Belgium, 2-0, in the second match of the Group F preliminary round. Meanwhile, Spain and Portugal fell victim to Morocco in the round of 16 and quarter-final stages respectively.
Morocco is the first African representative to reach the semifinals of the World Cup. This achievement made the enthusiasm of the Moroccan supporters so high in looking at the match against France.
A number of Moroccan diaspora in various European countries, such as in Spain, the Netherlands, France and the UK, are holding movie shows together in a number of cafes and meeting points.
Meanwhile, in one of Morocco’s largest cities, Casablanca, residents filled the cafe and fan zone at the Mohammed V Stadium to watch the match.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Our children and grandchildren may not be able to witness this opportunity again. This match means everything to us,” said Munir, a gas station attendant in Casablanca, who was in the fan zone to the BBC on Thursday.
Unfortunately, the fight ended in disappointment for the Atlas Lions supporters. Even though their favorite team lost to Les Bleus, a number of Moroccan supporters said they were proud of the progress of Walid Reragui’s team in the 2022 World Cup.
”Even though we lost, we are still proud of this team,” said one fan in Casablanca.
Similar pride was also expressed by one of the Moroccan diaspora in Spain.
”Apart from this defeat, I am proud of this team. What they achieve is more than just a ball game. They have given us a symbolic victory, in the form of attention and respect from the international community,” said Inas, who works as an English teacher in Spain.
In Paris, France, supporters of the Moroccan national team, who gathered at the Champs Elysees, reportedly raised the flags of Morocco and a number of countries from North Africa. Hundreds of police officers were seen carrying out tight security at one of the tourist icons in the city of Paris.
The presence of security forces was also seen in a number of major cities in Europe, including Brussels. Even though Morocco suffered defeat in that match, the Atlas Lions supporters in the city continued to light flares and fireworks as a form of pride for Morocco’s progress in the 2022 World Cup. (T/RE1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)