The Qatar World Cup has been put on hold for a few days, which is good for the players and perhaps also for the viewers who get a respite after several thrilling games, especially on Tuesday when Morocco became the first Arab country to advance to the Football World Cup Quarter-finals. Tom Goldman of NPR reports from Doha. Arab supporters have been anticipating this inaugural Middle East World Cup with increasing fervour.
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TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE The startling Saudi Arabia victory over soccer dynasty Argentina was a shock. Then, when the Saudis began to wilt, Morocco took over. It won its group and eliminated seventh-ranked Spain in Tuesday’s knockout round. The Football World Cup Quarter-finals, which were unprecedented terrain for the Atlas Lions, were a result. Last night, Doha’s horn honking and yelling had died down, but not its pride.
Faisal al-Kattabi, a 25-year-old Saudi, was draped in a red Moroccan flag as he entered the city’s renowned Souq Waqif, a maze-like market. FAISAL AL-KATTABI Arabic is the official language of Morocco, Tunisia, and Saudi Arabia. And we stand by us. Together, we are here A Palestinian Jordanian named Bilal Lkhawaja was exploring the Souq with his brother and his 12-year-old boys. The four of them were decked up in flags and FIFA World Cup Team Morocco T-shirts.
According to L Khawaja, a large portion of the Qatar World Cup typically views them as less capable since they are from Arab nations, whether in sports or other arenas. He argues Football World Cup victory helps overcome those misperceptions. Tell me, do you know or have you heard that the Arab team won the World Cup? No. Did you know that the Arab Football World Cup Team wins four medals, three of them being gold? No.
We thus attempt to alter this narrative using the entire Arab team. They waved the Palestinian flag, which has been seen everywhere at this Qatar World Cup, both in the fans and on the pitch, as they posed for a picture. After beating Spain, an ecstatic Moroccan team showed it. FIFA World Cup, the world’s governing body of soccer, has not formally responded to queries about what would seem to be a double standard.
The Qatar World Cup organisers have expressed opposition to anyone donning rainbow colours to show solidarity for LGBTQ groups or to make political statements against the Iranian regime. Those flying the Palestinian flag, which some view as making a comparable political message, have not. L Khawaja only expresses his happiness at the attention being drawn to the struggle for rights and statehood of the Palestinian people during this FIFA World Cup and, maybe, during the next FIFA World Cup.
L KHAWAJA I like this. Perhaps Americans should clarify what this is the next time. Maybe Mexico the next time. Despite L Khawaja’s frequent declarations that he was unwilling to engage in politics, the occupation of the Palestinian territories by Israel has proven to be one of the Middle East FIFA World Cup’s most divisive political topics. Israeli reporters covering the event posted recordings of themselves being rejected by Arab supporters on social media.
Which is where most of the action took place. GOLDMAN It’s a common belief that even while governments foster conflict, individuals get along. The situation has been the contrary in Qatar World Cup. While the Globe Cup’s theme is football connects the world, a well of suspicion is visible despite Israel striking new partnerships with Arab nations, notably Morocco. NPR News, Tom Goldman, Doha. NPR supplied the transcript Copyright NPR.
Morocco chasing history in Football World Cup
An increasingly confident Morocco Football World Cup team that orchestrated victory over Spain will look to prolong their fairytale run in their FIFA World Cup Quarter-final matchup with Portugal after springing the latest World Cup shock in a tournament that has seen its fair share. In 1986 in Mexico, Morocco created history by becoming the first African nation to advance to the round of 16. They now have a chance to go to the semifinals against a fervent crowd.
That has been boosted by support from much of the rest of the region, making them the first semifinalists from Africa and the Arab world. Morocco previously made a joke of their underdog reputation by winning a difficult group F ahead of the 2018 Football World Cup. Finalists Croatia and second-ranked Belgium would undoubtedly relish another chance to succeed as an underdog. Their ability to be unpredictable on the counterattack.
And defensively resilient has been the cornerstone of their success in the Qatar World Cup, and they implemented this plan well against the 2010 winners Spain. In two hours of exhausting play, Morocco refused to be hypnotised by their opponents’ amazing 1019 passes. Keeping the score at 0-0 before advancing to the round of 16 on penalties. Contrarily, Portugal’s Football World Cup Team opponents on Saturday (2 a.m. Sunday AEDT).
Who began without Cristiano Ronaldo, put on a stunning display of attacking mastery in their 6-1 thrashing of Switzerland following an erratic group stage? Although Portugal’s FIFA World Cup Team proved they could succeed without their talisman by moving Ronaldo to the bench, his absence seemed to energise the squad as they were more agile and fluid without the 37-year-old. Goncalo Ramos, a 21-year-old substitute for Ronaldo on the night, scored the first hat trick of the tournament.
And seemed certain to keep his spot to face a formidable Moroccan defence. Morocco wants to make history in the World Cup at least one more time. The North African nation has already made its mark in Qatar, defeating Spain on Tuesday in a penalty shootout to progress to the quarterfinal match against Portugal at the FIFA World Cup. But they’re not about to stop now. The goal of the team led by manager Walid Regragui is to become the first country in Africa.
To ever reach a Football World Cup Quarter-final. Three previous African nations have reached the last eight and just missed moving on, with Cameroon in 1990, Senegal in 2002, and Ghana in 2010 all losing in extra time or on penalties. Yassine Bounou, a goalie from Montreal, helped the Morocco Football World Cup Team defeat Croatia, Belgium, and Canada to win Group F by conceding just one goal in three games an own goal from centre-back Nayef Aguerd from a pass from left-back Sam Adekugbe.
After a 0-0 tie in regulation and extra time, the goalie then put up an outstanding performance against Spain. In the Round of 16 encounters, stopped three penalty shots to advance Morocco FIFA World Cup Team. It was the country’s second Round-of-16 participation having made it there in 1986 but losing to then-West Germany by a score of 1-0. Portugal previously experienced a similar one-off triumph when a team led by Eusebio finished third at the 1966 tournament in England.
Making just one more appearance in the following 36 years. But since 2002, the Portuguese have participated in every FIFA World Cup, but they have only done so once, in 2006, when a young team under Cristiano Ronaldo finished fourth after falling to France in the Football World Cup Semifinals. The former Real Madrid player has assumed a very different position. As his nation once more found a way to reach the top 8.
The 37-year-old was benched by manager Fernando Santos in favour of 21-year-old striker Goncalo Ramos after three subpar performances by the 37-year-old during a group stage play. Ramos went on to score a hat-trick against Switzerland on way to a 6-1 triumph. A gifted new generation of Portuguese players appears to no longer depend on a single star. To elevate their FIFA World Cup Team to new heights.
With roughly half of the team based in Manchester, Bruno Fernandes and Diogo Dalot of United, together with Bernardo Silva and Rben Dias of City, make up a strong core that is only now finding its footing. Joo Felix of Atletico de Madrid and Rafael Leo of Milan, both 23 years old, provide youth, speed, and potential.
Pepe, a veteran of the national team who scored his first Football World Cup goal against Switzerland on Tuesday in their Round of 16 encounters, provides the seasoned leadership that a youthful team occasionally needs. They will all be tasked with stopping a talented and expertly-coached Moroccan lineup that includes members of several elite European teams, including Achraf Hakimi of PSG’s right back.
Hakim Ziyech of Chelsea’s wing, Youssef En-Nesyri of Sevilla’s strikers, Noussair Mazraoui of Bayern Munich’s left back, and Achraf Hakimi of PSG’s right back. The Atlas Lions are on an eight-game winning streak thanks to the defence, which is coached by Bounou, also known as Bono, which only conceded two goals during that span. The two teams have faced off twice in FIFA World Cup history.
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