Moroccan fans delighted to continue World Cup adventure in quest for third place

Supporters of the Atlas Lions hope their side can make more history against Croatia on Saturday

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Proud Morocco fans are embracing the opportunity to continue a “miraculous adventure” as their national heroes aim to secure more World Cup history against Croatia on Saturday.

The resolute North Africans saw their hopes of lifting the Jules Rimet trophy ended after a 2-0 semi-final loss to defending champions France on Wednesday.

But they can still end a remarkable tournament on a high by signing off with victory in the third-place play-off.

They would become the first team from Africa and the Arab world to claim third spot.

The chance of a bronze medal offers a silver lining for supporters who don't want an incredible sporting journey to end.

Historic night awaits

Mohammed Al Sharafi, centre, will be cheering on Morocco against Croatia on Saturday. Photo: Mohammed Al Sharafi

Mohammed Al Sharafi, 55, who travelled from Morocco with his son to cheer on the team, will be in attendance at Khalifa International Stadium.

“I will be in the stadium for the third place match to support our beloved team. It will be another historic achievement,” said Mr Al Sharafi.

“We won’t leave our players and will keep supporting them in good and bad times.

“Our eyes now on the third place and to defeat Croatia. I will go with my son to cheer for the team until the end.”

The World Cup's third place match is not typically viewed fondly by football lovers. It is often seen as a game too far for competing sides still feeling the lingering disappointment of semi-final loss.

But for many nations and their supporters, it can offer tangible rewards for their achievements during the festival of football.

Usama Mohammed, 27, who came from Belgium to support Morocco when they reached the quarter-finals, said the game holds great importance.

“We know that every team doesn’t like to be on a plane home early in this tournament but we are still here and have our last match. It is a chance to continue our miraculous adventure,” he said.

“This team makes all Moroccans dream of a better future in football. I wished we could make it to the final but at the end we were playing against the former champion. Putting Morocco's name in third place is another victory for us.”

Rajaa Rasheed said the players and coach of Morocco have captured the hearts of the nation.

“They made our hopes grow by reaching this point. They had the best match against France and wasted some chances. Winning the third place is a dream for us,” she said.

“The players should know that they still have one mission to accomplish.”

Updated: December 15, 2022, 8:39 PM