Morocco diaspora celebrates World Cup success as Atlas Lions make last 16

Morocco diaspora celebrates World Cup success as Atlas Lions make last 16
Moroccans brought song, dance, and chants to the streets of London, Paris, Montreal and elsewhere after the Atlas Lions progressed to the last 16 of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
2 min read
02 December, 2022
Overjoyed Moroccans danced, sang, and waved flags during their street celebrations [Julie Sebadelha/AFP via Getty]

Morocco's diaspora erupted in joy on Thursday after the national team's historic victory over Canada that put them through to the last 16 of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Morocco reached the knockout stages of the tournament in style, beating Canada 2-1 and finishing the group stage sitting on top of Group E. It was the first time that they had progressed to the last 16 of the World Cup in more than 35 years.

As snow fell on the Canadian city of Montreal, most of the city's football fans would have been grumbling about their team's defeat in the warm confines of bars and homes.

But some of its sizeable Moroccan population took to the streets in elation, chanting and waving flags despite the freezing conditions.

In London, Atlas Lions fans took to the very heart of the city to make their joy known.

They briefly set up camp at Piccadilly Circus and paraded along Oxford Street.

@zineb.laz Moroccans celebrating the win at Piccadily Circus 🇲🇦🎉 #worldcup #dimamaghrib #maghreb #morocco ♬ Morocco - Remastered - National Anthem's Band

Celebrations also took place in Ladbroke Grove, a neighbourhood to the west of the city that is home to a significant North African population.

Revellers sang, danced, and chanted. They waved the flags of not only Morocco but also Palestine - yet another display of solidarity with the Palestinian cause among Arab football fans during this World Cup.

With all other Middle Eastern and North African teams knocked out of the tournament, hopes of Arab success are now firmly pinned on the Atlas Lions.

There were similar celebrations in other cities generations of Moroccans have made home, including AmsterdamBrussels and Paris.

A video of Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the head of state of tournament host nation Qatar, celebrating the Moroccan victory and raising the Moroccan flag was shared widely on social media.

The team will need all the support they can get as they play 2010 World Cup winners Spain on Tuesday for a place in the quarter-finals.