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A Panenka penalty straight by means of the middle of the objective.
Spanish goalkeeper Unai Simon dives to the appropriate and doesn’t come near the ball. Achraf Hakimi, born in Madrid however from Morocco, goes out in celebration.
His supervisor and teammates stream onto the sphere in pursuit. And celebrations start all around the world.
On Edgware Street in London the vehicles blare lengthy and loudly. Smoke from the torches obscures the Christmas lights. Flags flutter within the chilly December air.
In Paris, Berlin, Rotterdam the photographs are the identical.
Within the Spanish metropolis of Valencia, nevertheless, issues are somewhat extra sophisticated. Morocco’s last-16 win over Spain on the 2022 World Cup introduced previous and current into battle.
Lina Achafik is a pupil. She was born in Casablanca and research on the Polytechnic College of Valencia.
“For me personally, after we gained in opposition to Spain, I could not go to college the following day,” she stated.
“The uni discussion groups did not look good. There was lots of hate and I did not really feel secure going.
“The match in opposition to Spain was somewhat bit totally different due to the historical past we now have.
“Whether or not we gained or misplaced, we might take it very personally. And they also had been. The hateful feedback from the chat had nothing to do with the sport.
“It was extra concerning the colonization, the truth that we come right here to take their alternatives and issues like that.
“It is very heat.”
The warmth comes from a confused historical past.
The present rigidity between the 2 nations is most evident within the two coastal cities of Ceuta and Melilla. They’ve been a part of Spanish territory on African soil for about 500 years.
Morocco, on whose northern Mediterranean coast they lie, claims that Ceuta and Melilla ought to return to its management.
The border between Morocco and the 2 cities has turn out to be a flashpoint in relations – with African migrants making an attempt to cross Ceuta and Melilla as a path to Europe.
In June 2022, not less than 37 migrants died, crushed to loss of life between six-metre-high fences, whereas Moroccan border guards used tear fuel and batons to cease crowds making an attempt to enter Melilla.
Morocco’s affect extends far past the Mediterranean and again into the historical past of Spain.
In Andalusia there’s a large Islamic, Berber and Moorish affect that has formed Spanish tradition, language and structure.
Valencia, the place Achafik research, was as soon as often called Medina al-Turab – the town of sand – and all through the town there are monuments that hint their historical past again to 14th-century Arab rule.
At the moment, greater than 800,000 Moroccans dwell in Spain, making them the biggest expat inhabitants.
“It’s the closest European nation to Morocco, so it’s the best to go there,” Achafik explains.
Taoufiq M is one other Moroccan to have moved to Spain, though he has since returned to the capital Rabat the place he watched the World Cup final 16 win.
“It was an emotional rollercoaster,” he stated. “The drama was very intense. Luckily, it had a contented ending for us, which gave us lots of satisfaction and lots of hope to consider in miracles.
“It was very satisfying to beat Spain due to the lengthy historical past and the lengthy rivalry between us and them, not solely in sport, but in addition militarily, politically and economically. It was an especially good outcome to get one again.
In Valencia, the place Achafik watched the match, there was a heavy police presence throughout each match of the Atlas Lions marketing campaign.
“Each time there was a match with Morocco, there have been lots of police outdoors as a result of they knew there have been lots of Moroccans right here,” she stated.
“It’s not a pleasant feeling that the police had been solely current when Morocco performed, however I can not say that I used to be there the place one thing unhealthy occurred.”
It was not equally quiet in every single place.
Arrests had been made within the Spanish metropolis of Granada, with photographs posted on social media would have proven a confrontation between police and feminine Morocco followers in Ceuta.
Many members of the Moroccan crew, akin to Achafik and Taoufiq, are or had been expats.
Fourteen gamers in final 12 months’s World Cup squad had been born outdoors Morocco and the Atlas Lions have shut ties with international locations akin to France, Spain and the Netherlands.
Coach Walid Regragui embodied this. Born in France, he additionally performed membership soccer in Spain, however internationally and emotionally he was at all times Moroccan.
“We did not like that the earlier coaches weren’t Moroccan,” Achafik explains.
“So it felt totally different this time from the beginning. It felt like he needed to win as a lot because the gamers and the followers did, as a result of it could imply simply as a lot to him.”
She noticed the Moroccan roots in the way in which the crew spoke and performed.
“Lots of them grew up in different international locations, however I really feel like they nonetheless maintain on to their Moroccan facet,” says Achafik.
“For instance, Hassaniya [a local Arabic dialect]. It’s a very previous language, translated from era to era. They do not train it in faculties.
“Your mother and father ought to train you and plenty of gamers solely communicate Hassaniya.
“So it was very heartwarming to see that despite the fact that they grew up in different international locations, they nonetheless had Morocco in them.”
On the sphere, the victory ended an inferiority complicated that had held Morocco again on the worldwide stage.
“I feel typically a Moroccan or African participant has a fancy when he has to play in opposition to European or South American groups,” stated goalkeeper Yassine Bounou, who saved three penalties within the shootout win over Spain. advised BBC World Service’s Sportsworld.
“Morocco has proven that it’s doable for different African groups to match our efficiency on the subsequent World Cup.
“We have now opened a door as a crew and proven that it’s doable for anybody to beat massive groups and massive gamers.”
The rivalry between Spain and Morocco on the pitch has reached a brand new stage. However outdoors of that they work collectively.
Morocco, together with Spain and Portugal, are a part of a joint effort to host the 2030 World Cup shall be confirmed as hosts subsequent 12 months at a FIFA convention.
“I consider that Spain and Morocco’s joint bid will carry them nearer collectively. I feel the 2 international locations could have an in depth relationship so long as they’ve shared pursuits,” Taoufiq stated.
“However on the finish of the day, they’re rivals – and that competitors won’t ever go away.”