Achraf Hakimi scored the winning penalty to take Morocco and Africa to their first-ever World Cup semifinals. However, Hakimi’s goal was a bitter irony – a son of a cleaner mum, and hawker Dad in Spain has just eliminated his country of birth from the World Cup.
From a victory over Spain in the round of 16 of the 2022 FIFA World, Achraf Hakimi led his country to face another European giant, Portugal, in the quarterfinals.
Morocco made history, beat the odds, and twisted conjectures to reach the semifinal of the 2022 World Cup after beating Portugal 1-0.
The Atlas Lions showed signs of pulling an upset right from the Group stage of the competition. They outperform two 2018 World Cup big guns – Croatia (finalist) and Belgium (third place winners).
If there was doubt against the chances of the Atlas Lions in the tournament, eliminating favorites and 2010 champions Spain was enough to clear such doubt.
Backing it up with a 1-0 win over Portugal has established the squad as a superstar squad ready to take on any team. Morocco can become the first African team to reach the final and win the World Cup.
Morocco’s journey to the semifinals of the 2022 World Cup was made possible through Achraf Hakimi’s winning penalty against Spain in the round of 16.
Hakimi sent the Spanish goalkeeper in the wrong direction to score the winner and set up a quarterfinal clash with Portugal, which they subsequently won.
Now, Morocco tackles the star-studded French side for a place in the final. They will be hoping to count on Achraf Hakimi again when taking on Les Bleus.
Hakimi made headlines after the perfect penalty bundled out Spain, his country of birth and where he had his basic upbringing.
After the victory, Hakimi was spotted with his mum in the stands, tearfully celebrating the triumph.
The 24-year-old PSG defender was born and raised in Spain after his parents emigrated from Morocco to Spain in search of greener pastures.
Life wasn’t rosy for the then emigrants in Spain. Hakimi’s mother worked as a cleaner in the streets of Madrid to support her family, while his father hawked from place to place for the family’s upkeep.
Hakimi admitted that he came from a low-class family, and life was difficult for the family, especially after he opted to make a career out of football.
According to him, some of the needs of his siblings had to be shoved by his parents since they could not afford to back up his football career and care for other basic needs. Hence, when he plays and wins, he wins the battle for the family.
His cleaner mum and street fruit seller dad emigrated from Morocco to Madrid — where Achraf was born — for a better life.
“We come from a low-income family that struggled to make ends meet”, Achraf Hakimi was once quoted as saying.
“Today, I fight for them every day. They gave up their lives for me.
“They took many things away from my brothers in order for me to succeed.”
The football career and the new life of Achraf Hakimi
Achraf Hakimi was a gifted and talented kid player right from the early days. He played for the local team CD Colonia Ofigevi in Spain. At age 7, Real Madrid offered him a trial, which changed the fortunes of Hakimi.
He made his debut for the Los Blancos when he was 18 years. Real Madrid then sent him on a two-year loan spell with Bundesliga giant Borussia Dortmund where he began to develop and boost his fledgling football career with an outstanding performance.
He was then sold to Inter Milan for £35million before transferring to PSG for £60million and is now one of the top paid footballers, taking home more than £1million each month.
Hakimi is married to Hiba Abouk, 36, described as one of the world’s most beautiful actresses.
The glamorous couple appeared on the front page of Vogue Arabia in October. The couple now has two sons born in 2020 and 2022.
Morocco became the first African and first Arab team to reach the FIFA World Cup semi-finals after defeating Portugal under Achraf Hakimi’s leadership on Saturday, December 10, 2022. They will face France for a place in the finals of the tournament in Qatar.