Morocco’s win against Spain last night has been a major cause for celebrations across the region as it became the first Arab country to enter the Fifa World Cup quarter-finals. The Atlas Lions defeated former champion La Furia Roja after a goalless 90 minutes, with 3-0 on penalties sealed by right-back and former cover star Achraf Hakimi who famously shot a ‘Panenka’. Goalkeeper Yassine Bounou, who made three saves, and Abdelhamid Sabiri and Hakim Ziyech who scored the first two penalty kicks are also being hailed for their performances.
مبروك للمغرب هذا الفوز المستحق والأداء البطولي المتميز … أسود الأطلس سجلوا اليوم إنجازاً غير مسبوق في تاريخ الكرة العربية بالتأهل لدور الثمانية. pic.twitter.com/XjI52xSMmg
— Hamdan bin Mohammed (@HamdanMohammed) December 6, 2022
Fans in Dubai, UAE took to the streets while the Burj Khalifa too lit up with the Moroccan flag to celebrate the historic win and what is being dubbed the biggest game in Arab football history. The victory was also recognized His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who congratulated the team by sharing his pride at the win, which proved that nothing was impossible. HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, also praised the team via social media, saying, “Congratulations to Morocco for this well deserved victory and outstanding heroic performance. The Atlas Lions today recorded an unprecedented achievement in the history of Arab football by qualifying for the quarter-finals.”
Other Arab nations to see surprising victories during this year’s tournament include Saudi Arabia who defeated Argentina and Tunisia’s win against France in the group phase.