The Atlas Lions made history by becoming the first African and Arab nation to play in a World Cup semifinal.
After pulling off the seemingly unachievable feat of finishing fourth at the World Cup in Qatar, Morocco’s national football team was greeted with a hero’s welcome upon their return home.
The players took an open-top bus through the main streets of the capital, Rabat, after their plane landed on Tuesday. Thousands of Moroccans turned out to welcome the players, who gave African and Arab football new life, with flares, chants, and flags.
Underdogs Morocco, also known as the Atlas Lions, won hearts and established themselves as one of the major success stories of this year’s tournament.
Defeating second-placed Belgium, shocking 2010 champions Spain in a penalty shootout in the round of 16, and continuing their impressive run with a 1-0 victory over 2016 European champions Portugal before losing against the reigning champions France, Morocco has defeated elite teams in this edition of the tournament.
The Atlas Lions made history by becoming the first African and Arab nation to play in a World Cup semi-final.
Fans gave the players a special homecoming celebration in Rabat’s streets in response to the players’ record-breaking performance as police stood on guard.
The team was welcomed by King Mohammed VI at the palace in Rabat “to celebrate their great and historic accomplishment,” the royal court announced.
After falling to Croatia 1-2 in the third-place playoff on Saturday, the team finished fourth overall, surpassing global expectations.
Many Arab football fans were charmed by the Moroccan team because they recognised themselves in the group. After victories, players celebrated on the field with their mothers and kids while waving the Palestinian flag.
Additionally, the team inspired support throughout Africa.