They were not only playing for 37 million Moroccans back home, they were not even simply playing for hundreds of millions of Arabs. It might be fair to say that they played with the backing of around 1.9 billion fans. It might even be argued that Morocco elevated their game to such heights as to be in the hearts of millions, if not billions of Muslims. To some, it may come across as hyperbolic, but regardless of which team becomes the eventual winner of this edition of the World Cup, in some ways, Morocco is also a winner.
Yes, it is true: Morocco have been booted out of the 2022 World Cup by current champions and former colonial master, France. However, despite the feelings of dejection following the exit of the last Muslim team to have been standing in the draw, we reflect briefly on the truly positive atmosphere espoused by teams, fans, and others thus far in the tournament. I would even go as far as to suggest that this aura has been wholly thanks to the Islamic principles upon which the host nation is grounded. 
“.. Surely in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find comfort.” – Quran 13:28 🤍🇲🇦— Muslim (@Muslim) December 14, 2022
#Morocco #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/2txcybGrkk
Qatar has delivered big time
As has been widely covered by Islam21c and various other leading media organisations, this year’s World Cup was almost destined to fail before the first ball had even been kicked.
It very nearly went that way, when the BBC, ITV, and others did their level best to add proverbial fuel to the fire by deliberately not airing the tournament’s opening ceremony. 
This was, in large part, due to the mostly non-Muslim reporting of the Muslim host country – Qatar – and its ongoing issues around migrant workers, its unwillingness to rewrite its moral standards to appease Western-oriented minds, and a general feeling of ‘backwardness’ due to the nation being an overwhelmingly Muslim place.
However, it has been truly inspiring to witness the most prestigious footballing tournament in the world take place without issue.
Indeed, much has been complemented in regards to fan behaviour; the alcohol-free atmosphere ensuring that women are not catcalled or similarly abused in other offensive ways; the air-conditioned stadia (that have led to jokes about ensuring fans bring jackets); and the new Metro and other transport infrastructure. And this is all without referencing the hundreds, if not thousands, of people who are believed to have taken the shahāda (the Islamic oath) during their time in Qatar.
Morocco fans chant shahada during France game#Watch #Morocco #Qatar #WorldCup22 pic.twitter.com/R4kRExax5i— Middle East Monitor (@MiddleEastMnt) December 15, 2022
Morocco leaves Qatar with its head held high
Morocco had, in many respects, a ‘dream run’ to the semi-finals. And their iconic status among millions of Muslim football and general sporting fans began to take shape well before the upset of Wednesday evening.
Indeed, the mere fact that the team defeated Spain last Tuesday – not least on penalties – and then continued to play in such a manner as to knock out the equally never-to-be-underestimated Portugal on Saturday, has entrenched a feeling of pride that Muslims have not only hosted an incredibly successful World Cup, but they have also come to within touching distance of defeating France.
And of course, it is no surprise that the government of the French Republic is one that despises Islam. Its president, Emmanuel Macron, has repeatedly taken steps to dent the impact of Muslims and to impose bans on the hijāb and niqāb, targeted imams and other leaders, and paints French Muslims as a threat to the country’s secular foundations. 
No scrambled eggs for Macron
There was much fanfare when it was revealed that Macron was to personally attend the Morocco-France match. Following France’s win, he joined his country’s players in their dressing room celebrations, but it would have been an awesome sight to see Macron’s side defeated by Morocco, particularly with him in the stands!
Having the unenviable position as a one-time protectorate of France and holding a painful and coloured history with the same, we would have loved to see Macron get the proverbial egg in his face (again), albeit on the world stage, albeit thrown by Morocco.
Nevertheless, perhaps this inspiring adventure can be seen as a clear victory for Morocco and the Muslim world who eagerly rallied behind them. It might just be, that this World Cup was merely setting the scene for further victories in the future, from other brotherly nations.
Check out our special World Cup series!
- Sharing the teachings of the Prophet (ﷺ) at the World Cup
- Turns out that alcohol isn’t needed to attend football matches!
- Ever thought of wearing a bright orange thobe?
- When a Sikh from Hounslow crossed paths with an Englishman in Qatar
- Washroom bidets… did non-Muslim tourists figure out their use?
- A niqābi at a football match, surely not?
- Morocco reconquered Spain in 2022!