Morocco have become the Cinderella team of the 2022 World Cup. The Atlas Lions have already defeated powerhouses Spain, Portugal and Belgium in their run to the tournament semifinals.
They are already the first African nation to reach a World Cup semifinal and, despite Qatari authorities forcing the cancellation of flights from Morocco, Moroccan fans have flocked to Al Khor for the matchup against France, the defending World Cup champions.
As the tournament’s remaining underdog, Morocco have become an adopted team for many fans — and have football fans from other African nations joining the Moroccan bandwagon. So much so that Morocco matches in Qatar have a home-field advantage for the Atlas Lions.
Here’s a look at the scenes from the match.
Prior to the match, fans were celebrating in Al Khor, where the match is being held, and at the Souq Waqif marketplace in Doha, where approximately 13,000 native Moroccans live.
The Souq Waqif in Doha is brimming with Moroccan fans. And what’s wonderful is support comes from all across the Middle East and North Africa as well as from countless neutrals heavily invested in Morocco’s fairytale. pic.twitter.com/bsLJjtAaQw
— Ben Jacobs (@JacobsBen) December 14, 2022
— #3Sports (@3SportsGh) December 14, 2022
🇲🇦 Morocco fans are starting celebrations early as they prepare for their match-up against France.
🎉 Watch as supporters cheer away at Souq Waqif ahead of the game! pic.twitter.com/H3o5LGOz26
—Doha News (@dohanews) December 14, 2022
— Yaw (@theyawofosu) December 14, 2022
ESPN’s Omar Flores Aldana reported that Morocco’s embassy in Qatar made 5,000 tickets available for its citizens for the round of 16 match against Spain. However, a similar offer wasn’t made for the Portugal match, and Moroccan fans struggled to find tickets for the game against France. Despite that, fans showed up in droves around Al Bayt Stadium.
📍World Cup semi-final No. 2
Morocco fans: very much already here, in numbers pic.twitter.com/L60TqoRdTX
—Henry Bushnell (@HenryBushnell) December 14, 2022
Cheers from Morocco fans continue to fill the stadium in the first half pic.twitter.com/XWsUweyr3w
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) December 14, 2022
Mesut Ozil, the former Real Madrid and Arsenal star, was also at the game cheering for Morocco.
— Mesut Ozil (@M10) December 14, 2022