More than 2,000 Moroccan supporters voted yesterday in Toulouse to qualify for the quarter-finals of the World Cup.
The room lacks space. Le Mood restaurant, north of Toulouse, has become a fan zone for the Morocco team. Hundreds of supporters gathered to watch the round of 16 match against Spain together. In this headquarters of Lion de l’Atlas aficionados, we are optimistic. A few minutes before kick-off, Rim and Tamara, two students aged 20 and 22 wearing a team jersey, said: “We can feel it. Morocco has shown great defensive qualities since the start of the the competition. With all the surprises there have been, we believe it!”
During the meeting, the atmosphere is festive. Moroccan songs are sung in unison. At halftime, no rest for Morocco supporters. A music group makes them dance to the rhythm of the drums. The suspense during the second round is at its peak. Ihab, a Moroccan who is studying in Toulouse, can’t stand still. “I’m going to explode with nerves, he blurts out. I want to join the players on the pitch.”
“The celebration is a reflection of the Moroccan people”
The tension intensifies a little more during extra time. The exaggerated reactions replaced the chants. The supporters assist those who are standing to bend down, so as not to miss a crumb of the match.
At the 120th minute, it’s the release. “Penalties, we give a chance to qualify”, predicts Kamel rightly.
A few minutes later, the emotion contained for more than two hours explodes. For the first time in its history, Morocco qualified for the quarter-finals of a World Cup.
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The fans exult. In front of the establishment, a hundred of them sing in the middle of the cars which honk to celebrate the victory of the Lions of the Atlas. After about twenty minutes, the procession headed for Jean-Jaruès, where more than 2,000 other supporters were waiting for them to show off their heroes.
The sound of the drums ignited the crowd. Above their heads, fireworks crackled. “The atmosphere is in the image of the Moroccan people. We are celebrating this historic moment with joy and good humor,” says Tarek.
The supporters dispersed around 10 p.m. They met on Saturday, same time, same place, when “Morocco will have beaten Portugal!”
No overflow observed, traffic disrupted
The police did not observe any overflow last night in Toulouse. The atmosphere was particularly festive. On the other hand, access to monster traffic jams disrupted traffic and traffic in the center of Toulouse after the final whistle. Hundreds of vehicles waving flags and demonstrating their joy at this penalty shootout victory over the Spanish team converged on the city center at the start of the evening. At rush hour, traffic was therefore very disrupted by these happy supporters. Around 8 p.m., about 2,000 people translated themselves at the level of Jean Jaurès. Traffic on the boulevards was even cut off in places and the police managed the flow of vehicles in order to make traffic as smooth as possible.