The national team made history in this year’s FIFA World Cup after beating elite Belgium, Portugal & Spain.

Morocco’s national football team have received a hero’s welcome upon their return home after accomplishing the seemingly impossible feat of finishing fourth at the World Cup in Qatar.

After their plane touched down on Tuesday, the players rode an open-top bus through the major avenues of the capital, Rabat. With flares, chants and flags, thousands of Moroccans turned out to greet the players, who injected new energy into African and Arab football.

Underdogs Morocco, known as the Atlas Lions, conquered hearts with their never-say-die attitude and made history as one of the big success stories of this year’s tournament.

Morocco defeated elite teams, beating second-ranked Belgium, stunning 2010 champions Spain in a penalty shootout in the last 16, and continuing their impressive run with a 1-0 win against 2016 European champions Portugal, before stumbling against the defending champions France. Along the way, the Atlas Lions became the first African and Arab country to reach a World Cup semifinal.

The team finished fourth in the competition after losing to Croatia 1-2 in the third-place playoff on Saturday, exceeding the expectations of most Moroccans.

The players’ record-setting performance earned them a special celebration by fans, as police stood guard in the streets of Rabat. Big crowds lined the streets and the rest of the North African kingdom for the homecoming.

read full article on AlJazeera

King Mohammed VI Awards Atlas Lions with Wissams at Royal Reception

An army of Moroccan fans lined up across the streets of Sale and Rabat to cheer on the Atlas Lions.

Rabat – King Mohammed VI received on Tuesday the Moroccan national football team in the Royal palace in Rabat, in recognition of their achievements in the Qatar World Cup.

Accompanied by Crown Prince Moulay El Hassan and Prince Moulay Rachid, the monarch offered Royal wissams (medals) to the players of the national team, as well as to the squad’s head coach Walid Regragui for his efforts in training and successfully leading the Atlas Lions throughout the global event.

The King decorated both the President of the Moroccan Federation of Football Faouzi Lekjaa and Walid Regragui with a second class Order of the Throne Wissam (Commander).

In addition, the King decorated all the players with 3rd class Order of the Throne Wissams (Officer) including: Ghanem Saiss, Yassine Bounou, Achraf Hakimi, Noussair Mazraoui, Sofyan Amrabat, and Nayef Aguerd. Hakim Ziyech, Azzedine Ounahi, Abderrazak Hamdallah, Anas Zaroury, Abdelhamid Sabiri, Mounir El Kajoui, Ilias Chair, Zakaria Aboukhlal, Selim Amallah, Abdessamad Ezzalzouli, Sofiane Boufal, Jawad El Yamiq, Youssef En-Nesyri, Achraf Dari, Walid Cheddira, Ahmed Reda Tagnaouti, Bilal El Khannous, Badr Banoun, Yahya Attiyat-Allah, and Yahya Jabrane.

King Mohammed VI, Moulay El Hassan, and Moulay Rachid then posed with the national team and their mothers for a souvenir picture. Mothers of the Moroccan players were also present at the royal reception as the King insisted on including them in the event.

read full article at MWN

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