Moroccan players receive royal seal of approval for World Cup heroics

REUTERS - BERNADETT SZABO

Moroccan players danced and sang in the early hours of Wednesday morning with fans who gathered outside their team hotel in central Doha to celebrate their historic feats at the World Cup.

Cars bedecked in Moroccan flags circled the Wyndham Hotel in the West Bay district of the capital hooting their horns immediately after the victory at the Education City Stadium.

Hundreds of fans waited outside the luxury hotel in the hope of seeing the players who had made history by becoming the first Arab nation and only the fourth from Africa to advance to the last eight at the World Cup.

The King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, sent his congratulations to the players, the technical team and administrative staff as they made their way from the stadium.

Salute

"You have given your all and blazed a trail throughout this great sporting event,” said a statement from the palace.

The fans erupted in cheers when the bus arrived and the players got out to mingle with well-wishers.

Morocco midfielder Sofyan Amrabat took videos with a mobile phone of the celebrations before the team moved inside the five star hotel to begin their recovery for their next match.

They will play Portugal, who beat Switzerland 6-1, for a place in the semi-final.

Walid Regragui's side went into Tuesday night's game as underdogs despite emerging as winners from a group that included Belgium - the second ranked team in the world and Croatia, the 2018 finalists.

Luis Enrique's side could not convert a single penalty and it was down to Achraf Hakimi to seal it for Morocco.

Outside, cars honked horns and people lit firecrackers and red and green smoke bombs.


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