Fri, 03 Feb 2023

Morocco triumphed in a nailbiting World Cup penalty shootout against Spain

Thousands of Morocco football fans took to the streets of various cities to celebrate their country's stunning FIFA World Cup win against Spain on Tuesday, though there were reports of supporters clashing with police in the European capitals of Paris and Amsterdam.

Morocco became the first Arab nation to qualify for the last eight of the World Cup, and just the fourth African team in history to do so, when Spain failed to convert any of their spot-kicks in a penalty shootout after the two sides couldn't break the deadlock across 120 minutes of action.

Moroccan goalkeeper Yassine Bounou - known as Bono - was the hero as he repelled two Spanish penalties, with another hitting the post, prompting delirious celebrations in the Education City Stadium in Qatar - which was quickly matched by the Moroccan diaspora across the globe.

In Paris, which has a large North African population, fans descended upon the Champs-Elysees and towards the Arc de Triomphe in celebration, with many honking car horns and dancing in the street after one of the most famous days in the history of the country's international football team.

The scenes were matched in Barcelona, Madrid, The Hague and Brussels, as the country's diaspora lit flares and reveled in their underdog win against the former winners of the World Cup.

However, the situation reportedly turned tense in some areas like Amsterdam in the Netherlands, amid claims that some fans were using the celebrations as a vehicle for civil unrest.

According to a police spokesperson in the Dutch capital, some supporters were witnessed throwing fireworks at cars and busses, as well as at emergency workers.

Police attempted to clear Amsterdam's Mercatorplein plaza by around 8.30pm local time as the events became chaotic, and after some local shopkeepers opted to shut their doors early for fear of damage caused by the celebrating fans.

At least 40 arrests were reported across Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague.

Moroccan supporters had previously caused disturbances at The Hague and Rotterdam throughout the World Cup which led to the deployment of riot police, with several arrests being made.

Moroccan midfielder Azzedine Ounahi said after the match just how much the win would mean not just to their country, but to all of Africa and Muslims across the globe.

"Right now is a special moment for all Africa, for all the Arab countries, for all the Muslims around this world," he said.

"You try to make them happy, try to make ourselves happy. And I think it goes quite well."

Morocco will next play Portugal in the FIFA World Cup quarterfinal on Saturday, with the winner of that match taking on either England or France in the semifinal.

The four other quarterfinalists are Croatia, Brazil, Argentina and the Netherlands.

(RT.com)

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