Moroccans Emulate Japan as Fans Clean Up Stadium After Historic Win Over Belgium

by: AugustineMbam


In their second group match of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup, Morocco defeated Belgium to increase their chances of moving on. The performance and the Moroccans’ gesture to clean the stadium following the game caught everyone’s attention. Fans of the Atlas Lions had previously cleaned up after their team’s opening match against Croatia, so it wasn’t the first time they had done so.

Morocco’s victory marked the nation’s first triumph in five World Cup contests and the first time since 1986 that they had kept five straight clean sheets. The Moroccan team gave it their all to defeat Belgium, and while the players gave everything they had, the Moroccan fans’ post-match gesture has received praise on social media.

Moroccan fans at the Al Thumama Stadium are seen scrubbing the floor after their team’s historic victory over Belgium in social media videos and images that have gone viral. Blue disposable bags were seen being used by the Moroccan supporters to collect trash, which they then threw into the trash can. Similar incidents have occurred throughout the current World Cup in Qatar, so this is not unprecedented. Before that, after their team’s match against Germany, Japanese supporters were observed acting similarly.

Morocco vs Belgium

Abdelhamid Sabiri, a substitute for Morocco, gave his team the lead in the 73rd minute with a free kick that he curled in from a narrow angle on the left and went under Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois’ body. With less than 10 minutes remaining and the score at 1-0, Belgium coach Roberto Martinez brought on forward Romelu Lukaku, the nation’s all-time leading scorer, as a substitute to pull one back. Nevertheless, Zakaria Aboukhlal’s late goal gave his team a 2-0 advantage and limited Romelu Lukaku’s options. Aboukhlal’s shot, assisted by Hakim Ziyech, was guided into the roof of the net.

Before the shock, Belgium had won its previous seven group games at the World Cup and was ranked No. 2, just behind Brazil. If Belgium had defeated Morocco, it would have joined defending champion France as the second team to advance to the knockout round. Still, it will face 2018 finalist Croatia in a pivotal final group game. Due to goals from Lukaku, De Bruyne, and Eden Hazard, Belgium at the 2018 World Cup in Russia advanced to the semifinals but fell to eventual champion France.

It remains to be seen whether more nations will embrace this gesture, carrying out the message on the captain’s armbands of most nations which reads ‘Save the planet’.
In a previous Sports Brief article, the Japanese said they cleaned stadiums as a cultural tradition to leave places as clean as possible. In light of Japan’s challenging match against Spain in their final group game, the world might not see this gesture for long enough. The Asian country needs to draw at least, and they must hope that the other outcome goes in their favor. Moroccans have adopted similar gestures, which may encourage other countries to follow suit. If so, we might witness stadiums being cleaned by fans after games through the World Cup.




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