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Can an Arab team win the World Cup?

March 28, 2023 at 4:21 pm

Players of Morocco pose for a team photo prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 3rd Place match between Croatia and Morocco at Khalifa International Stadium on December 17, 2022 in Doha, Qatar [Fareed Kotb/Anadolu Agency]

We all witnessed the great performance and deserved victory of the Moroccan team against the Brazilian team, which has won five World Cup trophies. The Moroccan win comes on the back of its excellent performance at the Qatar World Cup 2022 where it came fourth, making it the best performance of an Arab and African team in the history of the World Cup.

The Moroccan national team has players of the highest caliber; many are active in the major European leagues, but no one expected them to have such a strong performance during the games and overcome some of the strongest football teams including Spain and Portugal.

The first Arab victory over the Brazilian team

Morocco’s recent victory over Brazil was the first for an Arab team in 24 games. The victory proved that the national team is evolving and improving and that it is ready to compete with the strongest international teams in the upcoming international competitions.

The Brazilian national team, on the other hand, is struggling. It used to be a team whose name would strike fear in opponents but this is no longer the case. Since winning the World Cup in South Korea and Japan in 2002, led by ‘the Phenomenon Ronaldo’ and coach Luis Felipe Scolari, it has never seen glory again despite having many football stars and top-class coaches.

Since its exit from the quarter-finals in the World Cup in Qatar and the dismissal of its coach, Tite, the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) has not settled on a permanent coach for the national team. It is expected that the CBF intends to appoint a foreign coach for the first time in an effort to achieve what the local coaches have so far been unable to. This country that breathes football can no longer bear failure and disappointment.

Arab football is developing

Meanwhile, Arab football is seeing great developments. In Qatar, Arab teams claimed unexpected victories, with Saudi beating former World Cup champions Argentina in its opening match and Tunisia beating France, the 2018 champions. This victory was loaded with symbolism because of the historic and political connotations it carried.

Arab football teams are improving, evolving and their flame is shining and not fading. What we witnessed from the Moroccan national team, both in the Qatar World Cup 2022 and the subsequent victory over the greatest team in history, confirms that Arab teams are able to compete at the highest levels. Now, with more work and discipline, we can witness a historic moment with the Moroccan national team bringing home the trophy in 2026.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.