'France is my country too', say French-Moroccan fans after World Cup 2022 defeat

Supporters of Morocco say Atlas Lions 'made the Arab world proud'

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French-Moroccan fans who were rooting for the Atlas Lions say they will now rally behind France as their second choice after Les Bleus secured a place in the World Cup final with a 2-0 win on Wednesday evening.

“I'm sad for Morocco because their win would have made history but they still made history by accessing the semi-finals,” French-Moroccan podcast producer Anas Daif told The National.

“They made a whole continent proud and they made the Arab world proud.

“People won't see our players the same way any more. Now, I'm focused on the French team. I hope they win. I'm happy for them. France is my country too. It's a bittersweet feeling.”

Nooreddin Asha, 42, who has lived in France for 19 years, said the Moroccan team's performance was “excellent, barring a few mistakes”.

“Morocco now boasts an elite sports team, which was seen on the global stage. The French team won and we are not upset; at the end we'll support France in its aim for the title,” he said.

“There is joy in the streets and this is a natural thing. There is also an awareness that this is a sport and we hope that no incidents take place among the different fans.”

Hours after the match, French police said a boy was killed during riots between French and Moroccan fans in Montpellier. The Herault administration said the boy was 14 years old.

Morocco could still finish third if they beat Croatia, who lost against Argentina in the other semi-final on Tuesday.

Kolo Muani of France scores the team's second goal against Morocco. Getty

Youssef, who lives in Paris, said he was proud that Morocco was the first Arab and African team to reach a World Cup semi-final.

There was an outpouring of support for the team on Twitter after their brave campaign came to an end.

“Never thought a football game will make me cry. Love to all the Moroccan fans across the globe,” wrote one user.

Others expressed their thanks to the Moroccan team, including one user whose post was accompanied by a picture of a lion in a hoodie, playing on the team's nickname.

“Hard luck Morocco. A historic accomplishment, and an honourable one,” wrote another user.

Updated: December 15, 2022, 1:38 PM