Over the past few years, African countries have had to settle for just a few memorable moments, games, and goals at World Cup tournaments. This, however, has been an improvement in the continent’s representation at the stage. If you want to know about Is Lionel Scaloni The Coach Messi and Argentina Have Always Needed, click here.
Before the 70s, no African country had been in a World Cup tournament, unlike Egypt, which had played in the first-ever World Cup tournament. This was because most of Africa was under colonization by European powers. Africa had one slot in the 1970 World Cup, and Morocco qualified.
Not a first for Morocco
Credits: The Hindu
As much as it is the most significant one, this is not the first time Morocco has made history for Africa in the World. In 1970, forty years after the first World Cup, Morocco became the first African country to draw a match at the World Cup, with a 1–1 draw against Bulgaria.
Sixteen years later, they were the first African and Arab team to reach the round of 16 in the same year that they went down as the first Arab side from Africa to top the group stage.
At the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Morocco has been short of these firsts either; coming out of the group stages, they had become the first African team to reach 7 points at the group stage, after beating Belgium and Canada and drawing only with Croatia.
A few days after defeating Spain and becoming just the fourth African nation to qualify for the quarter-finals, Morocco became the first African and Arab nation to reach the semifinals after their unprecedented 1–0 victory over Portugal.
The blameless Moroccan defense protected their sparkling clean sheets at this World Cup as they conceded only an own-goal thus far; the North African side did well to deny the Portuguese, who had scored six in the round of 16.
The game’s sole goal was power and class; Sevilla striker Youssef El-Nesyri demonstrated a typical Moroccan ‘hunger’ when he jumped off the building for a header in the 42nd minute.
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Morocco had become the fourth African nation to reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup, following in the footsteps of Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002), and Ghana (2010). However, no country from Africa had made it to the semifinals until Morocco did it.
They matched up against France
Going into the final four, Morocco will play defending champions France, who eliminated England in their round of 16 matches. So far, three European giants have fallen to the North African side. As they seek to defend their 2018 championship, will Les Bleus survive the surge coming down south, or will Morocco triumph again?