World Cup: Despair and pride for Moroccans as tournament run ends

Moroccan hopes of becoming the first African nation to reach the World Cup final have ended in despair after their side lost 2-0 to France.

Supporters gathered across Morocco, in Europe, and in the host nation Qatar were hoping they could overcome their former colonial rulers.

But it was not to be with goals from Theo Hernandez and Kylian Mbappe seeing the world champions into the final.

“We lost but we’re very proud,” a fan in Casablanca told the BBC.

There was a large police presence in central Paris for the fixture, as France is home to hundreds of thousands of people with Moroccan heritage.

As well as Moroccan flags the colours of other North African countries were waved by supporters who had gathered on the Champs Elysées.

Riot police were seen in other European cities, including Brussels, where Moroccan fans had marked previous victories in their World Cup campaign by letting off flares and fireworks.

In The Hague, Netherlands, the weather – and defeat – seemed to curtail fans’ post-match activities.

Flares were lit in the street after the match ended, but Dutch-Moroccans told the media, they were trying to keep the peace.

But at the fan zone in the Mohammed V stadium in Casablanca, one supporter said the semi-final result was “ok”, adding “it’s the game”. Many of those watching said they believed that their side’s run at the World Cup in Qatar was just the beginning of a promising future for Morocco’s footballers.


At the oldest cafe in Casablanca, fans became increasingly frustrated as their team struggled to score.

One supporter who grew up in France but was born in Morocco said he wanted the country to win because it was “time for Africa to lift the World Cup”.

In Cricklewood, an area of north-west London in the UK, Moroccan supporters gave a huge cheer as the final whistle blew.

Fans there felt an immense pride in how their team performed. In freezing conditions, Moroccan nationals watched under blankets, drinking tea and smoking shisha.

Tunisians, Algerians and Egyptians were in Cafe Prego. “We are all one nation”, said one fan who believes the tournament in Qatar has been the best World Cup ever and has united London’s Arab diaspora.

Kesh Awefada

Kesh Awefada

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