This time, the Moroccan women overcome odds and football giants to advance to the knockout stages of the World Cup
by Khaled Beydoun
Morocco entered the 2023 Women’s World Cup as the first Arab and Muslim-majority nation to qualify for the tournament. Its foray into history, however, began disastrously.
Germany, a perennial powerhouse, welcomed the Atlas Lionesses with a merciless beatdown, scoring six goals against Morocco’s zero.
Ten days later, Morocco made a miracle out of history, advancing to the knockout stages of the World Cup and sending the Germans home. Nobody expected either of those results, but Morocco – the men and now the women – have a knack for converting the football pitch into a field of dreams.
The Moroccan women picked themselves up after the German defeat to beat South Korea, 1-0, earning the first Women’s World Cup victory in that nation’s history. More importantly, the three points notched kept Moroccan aspirations of advancing into the knockout stages alive, to be determined by the final stage faceoff against the formidable Colombian team.
In between both poles of football history, Morocco broke another important barrier in the women’s game. Nouhaila Benzina became the first footballer to wear a hijab when she took the pitch against South Korea on August 1st.