Doha, Europe Brief News – Morocco became the first Arab nation and the fourth African country to reach World Cup quarter-finals after beating Spain.
Morocco beat Spain 3-0 in a penalty shootout after a 0-0 draw through extra time.
The Moroccans were playing in only their second knockout game at a World Cup, an event held in the Middle East for the first time in its nearly 100-year history.
“Right now is a special moment for all Africa, for all the Arab countries also, for all the Muslims around this world,” Morocco midfielder Azzedine Ounahi said.
“You try to make them happy, try to make ourselves happy. And I think it goes quite well.”
The World Cup is the first played in the Arab world and only the second to be held in Asia.
The tournament began with one of the biggest upsets in history when Saudi Arabia beat two-time champion Argentina on the third day of action.
The Saudis left, as host Qatar and Tunisia, in the group stage. But, Morocco remained as the Arab world’s standard-bearer.
“I’m very proud of my fans, of my people and Arabic people,” said Morocco coach Walid Regragui, who is the first African to coach an African team to the quarterfinals. “Also because I think you have Qatari people here, maybe Algerian people, Tunisian people, Arabic people and African people.”