Celebrations erupt on Edgware Road as country reaches Quarter Finals for first time
Jubilent Moroccans poured onto the streets of London on Tuesday evening as their nation sensationally triumphed over Spain in the World Cup last 16.
Flares were lit on Edgware Road after Morocco defeated Spain on penalties, sparkiing wild celebrations as the north Africans progressed to the quarter finals for the first time ever.
Videos posted to social media show delighted supporters spilling out onto the busy west London street draped in Morocco flags. Some beeped car horns while others were seen dancing while holding red flares – the colour of the country’s flag.
“It was incredible, there were lots of flags everywhere, not just Moroccan flags but flags of almost every African nation,” Jahmell-Hasan Rhys Campbell, a 21-year-old student from London, told the PA news agency.
“The cars were beeping every second, people were dancing in the street and hanging out of their car windows with Moroccan flags, it was such a surreal experience.
“(There were) easily around 300 people.”
Another person, who recorded the celebrations from the top deck of a passing bus, said everyone seemed “in very high spirits”.
“I don’t follow football closely so at first I wasn’t sure what was happening,” Lucie Bickerdike, 37, told PA.
“There were lots of car horns blaring all down the street, chanting, dancing, flares and fireworks.
“At one point a group boarded the bus singing and dancing, and then left again,” the PR agency owner added.
Fans also gathered in Piccadilly Circus and along Oxford Street in central London.
In Morocco, huge crowd of supporters were filmed gathering in the capital Rabat and lighting flares. Other footage shows fans dancing and chanting in a bar while draped in the Moroccan flag.
In Spain, Moroccan fans were seen chanting in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol and in Barcelona’s Las Ramblas district.
Achraf Hakimi, born in Madrid, sent Morocco through to the Quarter Finals with an audacious panenka penalty after a tense, scrappy 120 minutes of football. They will face either Portugal on Switzerland, who play at Qatar’s Lusail Iconic Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Morocco became only the fourth African nation to reach the last eight of the tournament, 12 years after Ghana did so in South Africa.
“We fought and made the Moroccan people happy, we made history and Morocco deserve it, Moroccan people made us united on the pitch,” coach Walid Regragui told Bein Sports.
Before the game on Tuesday, riot police and mounted officers were deployed amid chaotic scenes outside the Education City Stadium.
Heated discussions were taking place between some Morocco fans and security forces over whether or not they could head through the perimeter gate and move towards the spectator entrances.
Some people were showing their phones and what appeared to be their passports, but were turned away.
There were wild celebrations outside the ground when Morocco beat Spain, with some fans heard saying “bye, bye Espana” as they left.