Sheikh Mohammed hails Morocco's World Cup history-makers

Atlas Lions become first Arab nation to reach quarter-finals of the tournament with dramatic penalty shootout win over Spain

Morocco players celebrate after their win in the penalty shoot-out against Spain on Tuesday. Getty Images
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Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, has paid tribute to magnificent Morocco after they became the first Arab side to reach the World Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday.

The remarkable Atlas Lions held 2010 World Cup winners Spain at bay for 120 goalless minutes before sealing victory on penalties, sparking joyous scenes in Doha and across the North African nation.

The previously unheralded team triumphed 3-0 in the shoot-out, with goalkeeper Yassine Bounou making three saves.

Sheikh Mohammed wrote on Twitter of his pride at the monumental win, which he said proved nothing was impossible.

He shared images of the ecstatic Moroccan players alongside his celebratory message.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, also offered his own support after the "unprecedented achievement".

"Congratulations to Morocco for this well-deserved victory and outstanding heroic performance," Sheikh Hamdan wrote on Twitter.

"The Atlas Lions today recorded an unprecedented achievement in the history of Arab football by qualifying for the quarter-finals."

It is the latest chapter in an astonishing success story for Arab countries in the Qatar World Cup.

Saudi Arabia enjoyed a stunning 2-1 win over Lionel Messi's Argentina in the group phase, while Tunisia overcame world champions France in their last group fixture.

Updated: December 06, 2022, 6:35 PM