Morocco's victory over Spain in Qatar World Cup round of 16 match triggers pan-Arab celebrations - GulfToday

Morocco's victory over Spain in Qatar World Cup round of 16 match triggers pan-Arab celebrations


Moroccans celebrate after their team won the Qatar 2022 World Cup round 16 football match between Morocco and Spain, in Rabat, on Tuesday. AFP

Mohammed Abudullah, Senior Sports Reporter

It is believed that football has a cohesive force that brings the people and the nations together more than any other thing on this planet.

And nothing seems to unite the Arab world like football, as was evident once again when Morocco defeated Spain in their knockout match of the World Cup on Tuesday.

Morocco defeated Spain via penalty shootout in their Round of 16 match to book their berth in the quarter-finals.

They became the first African and Arab team to qualify for the last eight in this edition of the World Cup.

The victory of Morocco over Spain triggered a wild celebration across the Arab world. The victory is being seen as a pan-Arab win.

It was not only Doha, where the fans went in the state of euphoria but they flocked the streets from Cairo to Jeddah and Dubai to Damascus.

Not only the common people but the leaders of the Arab countries also congratulated Morocco on their feat.

It was His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and the Ruler of Dubai, who led the celebrations with a congratulatory message to the Moroccan team.

He took to Twitter to send the greetings to Moroccan football team.

Sheikh Mohammed said on Twitter, “The impossible is not Moroccan… The impossible is not Arab... The lionhearted men of Morocco we are proud of you before the whole world.”

The Emir of Qatar, who watched the match in the stadium, was seen holding the flag of Morocco. He also gave the thumbs up to the Moroccan team and congratulated them.

Other prominent Arab personalities, who took to social media to congratulate Morocco, are the Libyan Prime Minister and the Lebanese Premier.

Moroccons-celebrate2-750x450Moroccans celebrate their team's victory in Rabat on Tuesday. AFP

Every time an Arab country notched a win against a big team, the whole Arab world was seen celebrating in unison.

This shows the harmony and solidarity among the Arab nations. When Saudi Arabia sprung the first upset of the tournament by beating heavyweight Argentina, all the Arab leaders and people celebrated the victory together.

The swarms of Moroccan fans flocked the streets of Doha in the team's jersey which literally painted the city red.

They were seen celebrating at every nook and corner of the city. Men, women, old and youth all seemed to be immersed in joy.

They were singing, dancing, and shouting the chants of hail Morocco.

It was not only the Moroccan nationals who were celebrating but also all the African and Arabic speaking countries.

One Syrian fan, Mohammad Baloshi, said he was rooting for Morocco.

"I am a Syrian, but I wanted Morocco to win. Because Morocco are not only a country now, they are the lone surviving representative of African and Arabic speaking countries," said Baloshi.

Morocco, Senegal, Ghana, and Cameroon qualified for the FIFA World Cup 2022 from Africa.

Two African countries Morocco and Senegal had qualified for the knockout stages. But Senegal were defeated by England. So Morocco remains the lone African survivor.

Mahreb Al Saad, a Morocco fan of Tunisian descent, was jubilant as she claimed because her team could not go beyond the first round, so she is now supporting Morocco.

"I am so happy. Morocco is keeping the African and Arab representation in the World Cup alive. Since Tunisia bowed out after the first round, I switched my loyalties to Morocco.

Though it is a global tournament, it has always been dominated by European and South American countries.

"As the tournament transpires, it boils down to continent vs. continent. Every country wants if they fail to win it at least the cup should remain in their continent.

"So the whole Arab world and Africa are behind Morocco now.

We are all rooting for Morocco. It is a wonderful feeling to see an African country going so deep into the World Cup," she added.

One fan Sami Al Khabooshi from Saudi Arab, termed the win as the victory of pan Arab nations.

"We have seen so many upsets in this World Cup. Every time, it was some other Arab country, that stunned a big team like Spain, Argentina, or Belgium.

"Arabs have shown to the world, not only we can organise football events, but we can also play if it is played on a levelled pitch.

"The FIFA World Cup has always been played in the colder climate, mostly in South American and European countries, barring a few occasions.

"Now, when they are playing in the conditions which are more feasible for the Asians and the Africans.

"We are really happy for Morocco and wish them all the best for the quarter finals," he added.

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