Muscat – Following the world’s biggest party that took place at Education City Stadium in Doha on Tuesday night when Morocco upset Spain in the FIFA World Cup 2022 round of 16, the vast majority of spectators from around the world on Saturday were overcome by emotions after Morocco secured a semi final berth.
Morocco shocked Portugal in one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history, beating the Portuguese 1-0. With this, Morocco has become the only Arab nation to reach the semi final round of the first World Cup held in an Arab country.
In Oman, Morocco fans broke into tears of joy as they hugged each other after the match. “Morocco is a good team and against Portugal, it advanced its World Cup campaign after beating Spain and Belgium, and sharing spoils with Croatia. Morocco has indeed made the Arab world proud,” said Amerat resident Abdul Wahab.
After the match, the Arab world was flooded with congratulatory messages with many hailing the heroics of the Atlas Lions. It has offered the Arab world hope of a country from outside Europe and South America reaching the finals.
Ali al Badi, who travelled to Qatar for the Morocco-Portugal match, said, “This is the first World Cup on Arab territory and we carried the Arab flag in this tournament. I came here specifically to support Morocco and am so proud of their performance.”
In Doha, Omanis, Saudis, Qataris and Egyptians joined the celebrations, waving their countries’ flags in souqs and on the streets. “This is a matter of pride. We are all happy for Morocco. It does not matter which team reaches this stage, as long as there is one Arab team,” said Salim al Musallami, another Omani fan in Qatar.
Three Arab teams have previously reached the Round of 16 in a FIFA World Cup – Morocco (1986), Saudi Arabia (1994) and Algeria (2014). “If Morocco could beat Spain, who have been world champions, then losing to Portugal is not an option,” said Mukhtar Sultan, a Moroccan living in Seeb, before the match.