In the 2022 World Cup hosted by Qatar, Morocco, which reached the semi-finals with historic successes, aims to achieve a new victory over countries with a colonial past in the region with the match it will play with France.
The 2022 World Cup, which is being held for the first time in the Middle East, highlights the achievements of the countries of the region. The Moroccan national team known as the “Atlas Lions” advanced to the semi-finals and played with France, which carried statements that the historical rivalry had moved to football.
After the unexpected victories of Saudi Arabia and Iran in the group matches, Morocco gave positive signs with its first victory over Belgium.
Morocco finished Group F with Croatia, Belgium and Canada at the top with two wins and a draw, and Morocco became the only Arab country among the groups with this success.
Great victory over Spain
After the group stage, Morocco faced its northern neighbor Spain, one of the cup favorites, in the round of 16. In the match, which ended in a goalless draw in regular and extra time, Morocco defeated Spain 3-0 on penalties.
While this success for Morocco was celebrated with great enthusiasm in the country and in the Arab world, the final penalty shoot-out winning goal, scored by Madrid-born Achraf Hakimi, echoed on social media.
The victory of the Atlas Lions was celebrated with joyful demonstrations in many cities of Spain, where more than a million Moroccans live, 300 thousand of whom are Spanish citizens.
The defeat of Spain, which has made various regions of Morocco under colonial rule in North Africa since the fifteenth century and still controls the cities of Melilla and Ceuta, has brought the historical dimension of victory in football to the agenda.
After the Portuguese victory, Moroccan footballers who reflect their own values were appreciated
And in the quarterfinals, Morocco faced Portugal, where football star Cristiano Ronaldo played. And his success continued in this round as well, as Morocco beat Portugal 1-0 with a goal by Youssef Nusairi and left his mark in the semi-finals.
While the Moroccan soccer players were enjoying great joy after the match, Sofiane Boufal’s victory celebration by dancing on the pitch with her mother was widely discussed across social media.
Commenting on his post-match social media post, “A mother’s joy is worth the world,” Boufal stressed the importance of family in the country’s culture.
It is noteworthy that Yassin Bounou, who protected the goal of Morocco and had a large share in the team’s success by not conceding a goal in 4 matches, wanted to give an interview in Arabic at the press conference, despite her knowledge of the English language. French and Spanish.
Bono’s position was interpreted as support for Morocco’s efforts to erase its colonial traces in the country, which has taken various steps to limit French influence in recent years.
The Moroccan elimination of Portugal, which, like Spain, has a colonial past in North Africa, is reminiscent of the historic Vadisil War.
The war between the Moroccan Saadi Sultanate and the Portuguese Kingdom in 1578 resulted in the victory of the Saadi Sultanate, which was supported by the Ottoman Sultan Murad III with 10,000 Janissaries and 34 field guns.
The Atlas Lions, who defeated Belgium, Canada, Spain and Portugal in the tournament, prostrated themselves with gratitude after the goal, the victory and the opening of the Palestinian flag.
Semi-final with defending champion France
Morocco is now seeking a new historic victory over the “colonial countries”. Facing recent World Cup champions France in the semi-finals, Morocco aims to be Argentina’s opponent in the final by winning.
Concerned about the events that may occur during and after the match, France has allocated 10,000 police and gendarmerie in the country, 5,000 of whom are in the capital, Paris.
The Paris administration, which brought Morocco under colonial rule in 1912-1956, has a bloody colonial history with the countries of the North African region.
Last year, France imposed visa restrictions on Algerian, Tunisian and Moroccan nationals, once again straining relations with these countries.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s statements that “Islam is in crisis all over the world” and “Islam needs to be structured to become a partner of the Republic in France” were met with reactions in the Islamic world.
Moroccan football teams were a symbol of the struggle against the French colony
In the 1930s, when Moroccan national movements began to emerge, football played an active role in preserving the country’s national and cultural identity.
The elites of France, which added Morocco to its colonial territory in 1912, aimed to make the colonial powers felt in the eyes of the people and to accelerate the cultural change of the country through the sports clubs and football teams they created.
The teams of Maghreb Rabat, founded by the Moroccans in 1930, and Maghreb Bedoui, whose license was issued in 1938, became symbols during the struggle for independence against the clubs founded by the French, with names indicating that. of the national identity and culture of the country.
An affirmation of the Moroccan national identity that gathered thousands of fans in the stadiums, the teams were raising their voices against French activity in the country, with every success they achieved, echoing anti-colonial slogans.
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