Morocco made football fans worldwide proud when they defeated Spain in the World Cup at Qatar 2022. This victory was a great surprise to many, given that Spain was one of the tournament’s favorites.
This victory was even more special because it was achieved by Morocco – a country with which Algeria has always enjoyed a close relationship. Algerians everywhere took to social media to express their joy and support for their “brotherly” Moroccan neighbors.
Some hailed it as an important step towards greater Arab unity, while others celebrated another Arab team making headlines on the global stage.
Mohamed Reda’s face beamed with happiness. The residents of the Ain-Naadja market in the Algerian capital’s suburb seemed cheerful.
Earlier in the day, Morocco became the first team in FIFA World Cup history to advance to the quarterfinals after defeating Spain on penalties.
“The Moroccans have honoured us,” Red told Middle East Eye.
In recent years, tensions between Algeria and Morocco have been high due to the two countries’ disagreements over various issues, such as border security, espionage allegations, and the status of Western Sahara.
Although the two nations are at odds diplomatically, films posted to social media indicate that Algerians celebrated Morocco’s victory over Spain with the same enthusiasm as the rest of the Arab world.
Kamel, a detergent vendor at the same market, loved the “heroic” Atlas Lions: “Our brothers… devoured Spain.”
The Moroccan team has been lauded for their tenacious play and the fact that they circle the field after a win with Palestinian and Moroccan flags.
The Palestinian flag has been a constant presence during the tournament, even though the team did not make it. As part of the Abraham Accords, signed by four Arab states in late 2020, normal diplomatic connections between Israel and the Palestinian territories were established.
The agreements broke the tenacious Arab belief that significant Palestinian concessions must precede normalization with Israel.
Both nations have long-standing ties to one another, with families living across borders and sharing close cultural connections. But when it came to the showdown on the football pitch, only one team could come out victorious. And that team was Morocco – cheered on by their Algerian neighbors who saw them as ‘brothers’.
For Algeria, this victory represented more than just a sporting triumph; it was also seen as a symbolic win over historic rivals Spain. The happiness in Morocco was evident on social media.
“Congratulations to the Moroccan team and its coach who knew how to thwart the plans of the Spanish armada,” Musician Brahim Zenia posted on his Facebook wall.
Downtown Algiers was filled with young people singing victory songs about the greatness of the Moroccans as blaring horns echoed through the streets.