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Moroccan football team: "The most familiar stranger"

   When I was still in college ten years ago, I led a sightseeing group of more than 30 Moroccan students. Before meeting them, my general impression of the Moroccans was that they are from North Africa but closer to the Arab world. They have religious beliefs, are used to worship, and are inextricably linked with France.

  When I saw the real person, I realized that the North Africans in front of me were actually a group of children playing with each other and having fun in time. They were about the same age as me at the time. I have all kinds of nicknames and nicknames. During the process of taking them to Badaling, the Summer Palace and Houhai, two classmates and I, together with more than 30 Moroccan students, realized "cultural integration" and "world unity" in the small group to some extent.

  During the World Cup in Qatar, I was surprised to find that the little-known Morocco team, which was eliminated in the group stage of the last World Cup, after miraculously qualifying for the group stage, eliminated Spain and Portugal all the way. The team reached the semi-finals of the World Cup. The most amazing thing is that Morocco's opponent in the semi-finals is the French team, which has a complicated relationship with them in history.

  Although the Moroccan team failed to continue to be upset and entered the finals, a team that almost no one looked at before the game can reach the semi-finals and has become the biggest "dark horse" of this World Cup. So, why is Morocco, a mysterious North African country, able to capture a lot of "soccer fans" and "national fans" in this winter's World Cup?


Morocco right back Ashraf and France's No. 1 star Mbappe

The dark horse wants to be "black" to the end


  In this Moroccan team, right back Ashraf is the team's number one star. His nickname is "Morocco's No. 1 Affection", which originated from the deep friendship between himself and France's No. 1 star Mbappe, and then developed an alternative drama of "good men form their own CP".

  And if you know enough about Ashraf, you will find that he is not a typical Moroccan. He has lived in Getafe, on the outskirts of Madrid, since he was born, and has spoken Spanish since his novels, although his parents usually speak Arabic. This is also the special feature of Morocco: the official languages ​​are Arabic and Berber, and French is commonly used throughout the country. Since the north is only separated from Spain by the Strait of Gibraltar, most Moroccans in the north can also speak Spanish.

  In such a country with diverse languages, diverse cultures, and diverse living habits, 14 players were born abroad in the 26-man roster for this World Cup, including 4 from the Netherlands, 4 from Belgium, 2 from France, 2 from Spain, and 2 from Italy. 1 person, 1 person from Canada. Most of the culture and living habits of these players born outside Morocco are actually different from those of Moroccans. Many of them can’t even sing the national anthem of Morocco. For example, the winger Ziyech who is currently playing for Chelsea in the Premier League . If you have the heart, you will see Ziyech singing without opening his mouth at the national anthem ceremony before every game.

  Since France was the former suzerain of Morocco, the World Cup semi-final between France VS Morocco has also become a key factor connecting the football emotions of cities such as Casablanca, Cairo, Beirut, Baghdad and Ramallah. After a long absence, the Arab world temporarily put aside their internal strife, hoping to step on the French team to enter the final with a victory "belonging to Africa and the Arab world". If the right time and place are on their side, the Moroccans will even start to dream further—continue to win the championship with upsets, and the dark horse will "black" to the end.

  The importance of the semi-finals is self-evident, and it also attracted French President Macron to watch the game on the spot. Although Macron did not make a special trip to watch the France VS Morocco match, he publicly stated before this World Cup that as long as the French team enters the semi-finals, he will leave Paris for Doha to cheer for the French team.


  The Arab world hopes to step on the French team to enter the final with a victory "belonging to Africa and the Arab world".


  And just two days before Macron left for Doha, the sports section of Le Figaro, the largest domestic circulation in France, published an article specifically talking about the semi-final between France VS Morocco: "This is obviously not only As simple as a single match, it was a highly symbolic event in which the once intertwined History vibrates rhythmically in between. Watch and listen as Moroccans run into the streets the night Morocco advances to the semi-finals, perhaps wanting to do more than rejoice... Well, against France on Wednesday night, there will be What? The Lion of Atlas (Morocco's nickname) undoubtedly carries the hope of a nation. There is no doubt that it will also carry the hope of a continent. To put it more broadly, it will carry the hope of the entire Arab world. hope."

Unbelievable Morocco


  A pre-publicized semi-final also brought a series of social risks that could be speculated in advance. From this perspective, the Paris city government has shown a foresight to prepare for a rainy day.

  Just 12 hours before the kickoff of the world-renowned semi-final, the mayor of the 8th arrondissement of Paris, Ortesel, publicly stated that considering the large number of Moroccans working and living in Paris, in order to avoid an outbreak on the night of the semi-final Unnecessary conflict, Paris may close the Champs-Elysées on the night of the game. "In order to ensure nothing goes wrong, we hope to cut off all things that may cause conflicts and create a Paris with a good environment for everyone to watch football." Two hours after

  this sentence was finished, the Paris City Government announced that from 8 o'clock that night, The Champs-Elysées were officially closed for two hours.

  In the semi-final that night, the French team finally defeated the Moroccan team 2-0. After the game, the excited French fans walked out of their homes, broke through the blockade of the block, and turned the Champs-Elysées into the "center of the universe" in their hearts. The large-scale celebration scene also caused dissatisfaction among some Moroccan fans. Although the opening of the Champs-Elysées was suspended during the game, after the "unblocking", small-scale conflicts occurred between fans of both sides.

  In any case, Morocco from North Africa has let the world see its own strength in this World Cup. Located at the crossroads of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, Europe and Africa, this middle-income developing country dominated by the tertiary industry is the fifth largest economy in Africa. And the national mentality of this multicultural country is also very interesting when facing the national team.



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