Arab fans are upbeat and celebrating every moment with the Moroccan national team set to take on Spain at Education City Stadium Tuesday at 6pm.
Lions de l’Atlas (Atlas Lions) is the lone Arab team still in the first World Cup in the Middle East.
This is also the first time since 1986 that a North African country has entered the last 16 stage.
The fans, most of them Moroccans, are thronging streets, fan zones and markets where they cheer for their team.
“We are hopeful that our team will enter the quarter-finals, beating Spain,” Moroccan fan Issam Laabi told *Gulf Times.
Moroccans in Qatar are feeling the love from all over the Arab world ahead of their match against Spain.
Most of the fans of teams Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia are supporting Morocco after their squads exited the World Cup during the first round.
“Our country is representing the whole Arab world in the second round,” said Noureddine Ameur. “And we feel the love and support of our Arab brothers in Qatar and across the world. Our players will achieve what we want while meeting our expectations in the tournament.”
For many Moroccans, PSG player Achraf Hakimi and Chelsea star Hakim Ziyech are the favourites.
“Indeed, both players are in good form and the duo will take our team to the next level. We support our team with our soul and body,” Laabi said.
Fans said that Morocco is making steady progress while improving their performance after every match.
“We have a good team of strikers, midfielders and defenders, whose performance level is going up,” said Dinia Illies. “Being Arabs, they have a feeling of being home.”
Monday Souq Waqif, Katara – the Cultural Village and fan zones across Qatar witnessed Moroccan fans who celebrated with songs, dancing and cheering.
“We got every reason to celebrate since our team has added an incredible achievement to its credit,” Laabi added.
The Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported Monday that the Moroccan squad is entering the match with high spirits, after having topped Group F with seven points, surpassing Belgium, Croatia and Canada, to repeat their 1986 World Cup achievement.
"Being the only Arab representative in the knock-out stage, the Moroccan squad is looking tomorrow for their fifth victory in World Cup finals,” the QNA said. “Morocco's first victory in the World Cup came in the 1986 edition in Mexico, when they defeated Portugal 3-1.”
“Then it was 12 years before they achieved their second victory by defeating Scotland 3-0 in the 1998 edition in France,” the QNA added. “And now they have defeated Belgium and Canada in the current World Cup edition."
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