Morocco receives a triumphant homecoming after historic fourth place at the World Cup

Tens of thousands of jubilant Moroccans welcomed their national team home on Tuesday after the players exceeded the North African nation’s wildest expectations and finished fourth at the World Cup in Qatar.

Fans packed squares and lined roads and streets in and around Rabat, lighting torches, waving flags, dancing to the beat of drums and cheering as an open-top bus carrying the suit and tie-clad players rolled into the capital with a heavy police escort.

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Smiling players and coach Walid Regragui waved, blew kisses to their ecstatic fans and took selfies against the backdrop of waving crowds and waving palm feathers.

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At some points along the parade route, crowds spilled from sidewalks onto a four-lane highway carrying the bus. slowed the vehicle as it traveled to the royal palace where King Mohammed VI was waiting to receive the players to “celebrate their great and historic achievement.”

As the first African or Arab team to reach the World Cup semi-finals, the Moroccan team, known as the Atlas Lions, made history and were one of the great success stories of the tournament, the first to be hosted by an Arab nation .

After beating former European colonial powers Belgium, Spain and Portugal, the team lost to France in the semi-finals. His record performance led to the players receiving a hero’s welcome.

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“Morocco’s run in the 2022 FIFA World Cup will be remembered in the history books as one of the most exciting campaigns since the tournament’s inception,” cafe owner Reda Ghazi, 27, told The Associated Press. “It was the dream of every Moroccan. to win something, especially because Morocco is a country where the passion for football is overwhelming.”

Morocco finished fourth in the competition after losing 1-2 to Croatia in the third-place play-off on Saturday, exceeding the expectations of most Moroccans.

“I still can’t wrap my head around what happened in this World Cup,” added student Anour El Berkaoui, 23. “The team has now set the bar so high that we will not be happy with anything less than the upcoming Africa Cup tournament.”

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The Moroccan team captivated many Arab football fans who saw in the team a reflection of themselves. Players waved the Palestinian flag after their victories and celebrated on the field with their mothers and children.

The team has also gained support across Africa.

“As an African team, we broke many records and made the whole continent proud,” Rabat resident Omar Zorgane said.

“Morocco as a whole will benefit a lot from this year’s World Cup, from tourism to attracting the attention of other countries to possibly host one of the biggest tournaments in the world in the future,” he said.


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