Sheikh Mohammed, Hamdan celebrate as Morocco creates history to enter World Cup quarters

The Atlas Lions eliminated European giants on penalty kicks, becoming the first Arab country to reach the quarter-finals



Morocco players celebrate after they won on penalty shoot-out the Qatar 2022 World Cup round of 16.  Photo: AFP
Morocco players celebrate after they won on penalty shoot-out the Qatar 2022 World Cup round of 16. Photo: AFP

By Web Desk

Published: Tue 6 Dec 2022, 10:24 PM

Last updated: Wed 7 Dec 2022, 8:22 AM

The Atlas Lions roared into a historic quarter-final berth at the Education City stadium in Qatar on Tuesday, beating giant Spain out of the World Cup in a last-16 penalty shootout.

Achraf Hakimi, a product of the Real Madrid youth system, struck the decisive penalty to send the Spaniards crashing out and Morocco into the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time.

The Arab world, rooting for the brave North African team, erupted with joy and pride. Supporters in fan zones across the UAE were ecstatic about the historic achievement. The ear-shattering cacophonic combination of singing, drumming, jeering and whistling from Morocco’s supporters has created an atmosphere like no other in Qatar’s stadiums and UAE fan zones.

Their victory is not only a triumph for Morocco but an additional gloss to another Arab success at the tournament like Saudi Arabia beating Argentina and Tunisia upsetting holders France in the group phase.

Minutes after the final whistle, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, congratulated the team calling them 'the lions'.

Morocco's Jawad El Yamiq celebrates after the match as Morocco qualify for the quarter finals. Photo: Reuters
Morocco's Jawad El Yamiq celebrates after the match as Morocco qualify for the quarter finals. Photo: Reuters

Expressing his joy, Sheikh Mohammed took to Twitter to write: "Nothing is impossible for Moroccans, nothing is impossible for Arabs. The Lions and men of Morocco - how proud we are!"

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, congratulated the team for the 'deserved victory and outstanding heroic performance'.

He wrote on Twitter, "Today, the Atlas Lions scored an unprecedented achievement in the history of Arab football by qualifying for the quarter-finals."

ALSO READ:

Morocco rode a wave of passionate support and is keeping the World Cup dreams of the Arab world alive.

The country now have a chance to become both the Arab world and Africa's first-ever semi-finalists if they continue to use the overwhelming support that has backed them through an impressive array of results.

They will play on Saturday in the quarter-final at Doha's Al Thumama Stadium against either Portugal or Switzerland, who are in action later on Tuesday.


More news from Sports