Watch: Arabs cry tears of joy in Qatar after Morocco's historic World Cup win over Spain

After Saudi Arabia and Tunisia’s sparkling cameos, the Atlas Lions have kept the dream run in the first Fifa World Cup ever hosted in the middle-east region



Morocco supporters celebrate at the Fifa Fan Zone in Doha after their team won against Spain. (AFP)
Morocco supporters celebrate at the Fifa Fan Zone in Doha after their team won against Spain. (AFP)

By Rituraj Borkakoty in Doha

Published: Wed 7 Dec 2022, 7:49 PM

Last updated: Wed 7 Dec 2022, 8:12 PM

Amid the deafening noise at the Fifa Fan Festival in Doha, an Egyptian girl and her Lebanese friend covered their faces and struggled to hold back the tears.

They then punched the air and let out a roar as Achraf Hakimi, Morocco’s Spain-born football star, had just written his name in Arab hearts with his match-winning penalty kick against Spain.

It was a kick that broke the Spanish hearts and sent Morocco into the World Cup quarter-finals, sparking unbelievable scenes at the fan festival.

A few yards away from the Lebanese and Egyptian friends, a group of Tunisians, Yemenis, Egyptians and Libyan nationals hugged and broke into a dance, all draped in their national colours.

Following Saudi Arabia and Tunisia’s sparkling cameos, the Moroccans have continued the dream run for Arab football in the first World Cup ever hosted in the middle-east region.

Mohsen, a Dubai-based Yemeni national, was lost for words after Morocco entered the quarter-finals following their dramatic win over former world champions Spain on penalties.

Egyptian Tunisian and Moroccan fans.
Egyptian Tunisian and Moroccan fans.

“I am very, very, very happy. I cannot describe this feeling. It feels like Yemen have won a World Cup match,” Mohsen told this reporter.

“It’s a great day for the Arab world that our brothers from Morocco have reached the World Cup quarter-finals and beaten a big team like Spain.”

To celebrate the historic victory for the Arab world, Mohsen was going to Souq Waqif, a famous marketplace in Doha which has become the most popular hub for football fans from all countries during this World Cup.

“I am going to Souq Waqif now to celebrate with all the Moroccan people. We are going to have a big party tonight,” he said.

Mohammed, a Turkey-based Egyptian national who has travelled to Qatar for the World Cup, said it was natural for all Arabs to celebrate the Moroccan victory.

“We are all Arab people. That’s why you are seeing here people from different Arab countries celebrating like this. We don’t care who we are playing. When there is an Arab team, every Arab will support that team, even if it’s not his own country,” Mohammed said.

(Left) Libya’s Abu Baker with friends from his country
(Left) Libya’s Abu Baker with friends from his country

Abu Baker, who has travelled to Qatar from Libya, was waving the Libyan flag and dancing with his friends.

“Today, it’s a very happy moment for us to see this Morocco performance. There will be celebrations in Libya also tonight. We are all very happy for our Moroccan brothers,” he said.

Amid the jubilations among all Arab fans, it was a real struggle to find someone who was actually from Morocco. Finally, a young man pointed to a girl wearing the Moroccan colours.

“I am not from Morocco. I am Arab, but this girl is from Morocco. You can speak to her,” the young man told me. So the young girl indeed turned out to be a Moroccan national who lives in Doha.

(From left) Hamza from Lebanon, Zahid and Kenza from Morocco and Ayouba from Lebanon
(From left) Hamza from Lebanon, Zahid and Kenza from Morocco and Ayouba from Lebanon

“For me to be witnessing this moment, it’s just amazing,” said Kenza who came to the fan festival with her Lebanese friends.

“I live in Doha and the World Cup is happening right here and my country has reached the quarter-final, it’s like a dream-come-true moment for me.”

Morocco's Mustafa (centre) poses with fans from Tunisia.
Morocco's Mustafa (centre) poses with fans from Tunisia.

Then I found another Moroccan, Mustafa, with who all other Arab men wanted to take a picture.

“It’s amazing and very emotional to see this kind of support from all Arab people for my country Morocco,” said Mustafa who lives in Doha.

“Today we beat Spain. Inshallah, we will win the next match also. We will win because we have all the Arab people with us.”

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Mustafa is also incredibly happy that the Moroccan team have made World Cup history in his adopted home, Qatar.

“I have been living here for almost 10 years now. I have seen how Qatar worked so hard to organise this World Cup here,” he said.

“I would like to thank Qatar from the bottom of my heart for organizing this tournament here. It’s because of them that I have could see Morocco play in a World Cup match. And today I saw a historic victory!”


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