In the end, it took the defending world champions to stop Morocco.
The Atlas Lions – the first Arab and African team to make it to a World Cup semifinal – had beaten Belgium, Spain and Portugal on their adventure in Qatar. But France took their chances in a closely-fought game on Wednesday evening, beating Morocco 2-0.
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Morocco will be back in action on Saturday in the third-place playoff before they head home. But their run in Qatar made World Cup history and generated an outpouring of pride among Arab and African nations.
United States website Bleacher Report, and United Kingdom-based Goal magazine spoke for many when reflecting on events after the game:
Thank you 🇲🇦 pic.twitter.com/tEs4Ip03Og
— B/R Football (@brfootball) December 14, 2022
This Morocco team will go down in history 🇲🇦 pic.twitter.com/j90HWRF1D7
— GOAL (@goal) December 14, 2022
English YouTuber Chunkz spoke of the pride the Atlas Lions had given so many:
Morocco have made us very proud, the most successful African team ever! DIMA MAGHREB to the world n back 🇲🇦❤️
— Chunkz (@Chunkz) December 14, 2022
Mesut Ozil, the German footballer who stepped away from the national team citing racist abuse due to his Turkish background, said the Atlas Lions should take great pride in their run:
History still made 🇲🇦 The team tried everything – no shame in tonight's performance, all Moroccans can be incredibly proud ❤️ #Worldcup2022
— Mesut Özil (@M10) December 14, 2022
Media critic Sana Saeed pointed out that Morocco’s run had given the world something special:
Can’t be sad about 🇲🇦’s loss: they made WC history, played at the level of the best teams & players; they represented underrepresented parts of the world in football & brought together so many peoples. Morocco showed what’s possible & that must be celebrated. They made this WC.
— Sana Saeed (@SanaSaeed) December 14, 2022
Writer Musa Okwonga praised Morocco’s head coach Walid Regragui, who only took on the job in August.
Walid Regragui, you absolute legend. What a spectacular month of coaching – masterclass after masterclass. That man’s not paying for a meal in Morocco or any Moroccan community again.
— Musa Okwonga (@Okwonga) December 14, 2022
Morocco’s adventures sparked joy in cities including Cairo, Abu Dhabi and Gaza.
Morocco has made the entire Muslim world proud. May Allah be with them always. 🇲🇦☝ pic.twitter.com/ObaO4wLChd
— • (@Al__Quraan) December 14, 2022
Thank you #Morocco for making history as the first Arab country to reach the semifinals. Thank you for taking us with you through the World Cup. Thank you for every victory. This shall not be the end of our dream. #FIFAWorldCup pic.twitter.com/Zv18ppuI3z
— TIMES OF GAZA (@Timesofgaza) December 14, 2022
And no one will forget Morocco’s humbling of the great Cristiano Ronaldo.
Morocco you will always be famous pic.twitter.com/kAuRIYbnHO
— Orla (@OrlaDoherty) December 14, 2022
Moroccan Keeper Yassine Bounou’s son confuses a microphone for ice cream. 🇲🇦❤️🍦
— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) December 14, 2022