The Moroccan National Football Team made history in Qatar on 6 December after beating Spain to a spot in the quarter-finals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. They are the first Arab and third African team to reach this stage of the tournament.
The game was tense and goalless until the very end of extra time, ending in a penalty shootout in which Morocco scored three out of four and maintained an entirely clean sheet. The Man of the Match trophy was awarded to Moroccan goalkeeper Yassine Bounou, who gave an outstanding performance throughout the game and saved two of Spain’s three penalties in the shootout.
The Moroccan team started strong in the first half and had more than one dangerous moment, but Luis Enrique’s Spain, famed for their tiki-taka technique, maintained higher possession throughout. Despite nearly running out of steam in the second half, four substitutions revived Morocco’s spirit, and they managed to keep their defense steady.
Football fans around the world are celebrating the unexpected nature of this victory, and from as far west as Morocco to as far east as the United Arab Emirates, Arab and African viewers are celebrating it as if it were their own.
Morocco is now the last Arab and African team left in the tournament since Senegal was knocked out by England on 4 December. They are set to play against Portugal, who qualified tonight by defeating Switzerland, on 10 December.