Morocco’s proud fight to complete the most improbable story is over.”
The Associated Press reported on the 15th (Korean time) the semi-finals of the World Cup in Qatar, which ended with France’s 2-0 victory. Even though they lost, they highly praised Morocco’s challenge, who wrote a dramatic drama in this tournament. It was a proud fight, literally. The country, which was considered the weakest among the participating countries in the finals, defeated the strong players one after another and advanced to the threshold of the finals, creating a hot sensation. 스포츠토토
Morocco is in Group F along with Croatia, Belgium and Canada. It was a tough grouping. The prospect that Belgium, which ranked second in FIFA, and Croatia, which ranked 12th, would advance to the round of 16 side by side was dominant. Among the strong players, the 22nd place Morocco and 41st place Canada seemed narrow.
Morocco exceeded everyone’s expectations. After a 0-0 draw with Croatia, it caused a surprise by beating Belgium 2-0. Canada also won 2-1 and advanced to the round of 16 as first place in the group.
In the tournament, the rise was even more fierce. In the round of 16 against Spain, it was tight 0-0 until overtime, then defeated it in a penalty shootout, and in the quarterfinals, it defeated another champion, Portugal, 1-0.
When Morocco made it to the World Cup semi-final stage for the first time on the African continent, African immigrants living in various parts of Europe were the first to jump out into the streets and cheer. Those who lived with the sadness of strangers cheered on Morocco’s unstoppable run and held parties in major European cities to celebrate the semifinals.
It also had historical significance. Spain and Portugal from the Iberian Peninsula, who faced each other in the tournament, are colonial powers that invaded Morocco during the imperial era. Casablanca, the largest port city in Morocco, was created by Portugal in the 16th century to serve as a trading base. Spain took de facto control of the country through an unequal treaty in 1860. France, the semi-final opponent, later colonized Morocco until shortly before regaining independent state status in 1956.
Paradoxically, however, the history of pain made Moroccan football more solid. Morocco had 14 naturalized players, the most among the participating countries. In other words, more than half of the 26 final entries were filled with dual nationals. Descendants of Moroccans who immigrated to Europe and North America during colonial times wore the Moroccan flag following the lineage of their parents or grandparents and played on the ground.
Although the finale drama was not completed, Morocco’s challenge itself was a journey worthy of applause. “Our players gave everything,” Morocco coach Walid Lakraki said. I didn’t win the World Cup, but I’ll keep moving forward. That is our job,” he promised.