Morocco World Cup stars and their mothers have bagged the highest honor in Morocco after a heroic performance in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Thousands of fans greeted the team on their return to Rabat. They went on an open-top bus parade after finishing fourth in the World Cup.
The Atlas Lions’ had a stunning run which led them to the semifinals of the 2022 World Cup. Morocco weave itself into the 2022 World Cup plot as the surprise team of the tournaments before their eventual 2-0 loss to defending champions France.
Morocco became the first African and Arab nation to reach the last four of the World Cup, securing a series of shock wins over big teams in the tournament.
Morocco peeped 2018 World Cup finalists Croatia and third-place winners Belgium to emerge as Group F winners with 7 points.
They held Spain to a goalless draw after regulation and extra time and eliminated the 2010 champions on penalties in round 16.
In the quarterfinal, Morocco pulled an upset, defeating Euro 2016 champions Portugal to become the first African country to reach the semifinals of the World Cup.
The historic 1-0 quarterfinal victory over the Cristiano Ronaldo-led team in the last eight was secured with En-Nesyri’s first-half header.
Morocco were backed with considerable support throughout the tournament, with thousands of fans traveling to the Gulf nation to follow the surprise run into the latter stages.
The team was greeted by similar numbers on their return home, with crowds lining the streets in support of the team carrying flares and flags.
A reception was held at Morocco’s Royal Palace, with the squad greeted by King Mohammed VI, Crown Prince Moulay El Hassan, and Prince Moulay Rachid.
King Mohammed had been seen among fans celebrating Morocco’s World Cup success during the competition, having been seen wearing the team kit in a car.
Regragui and Moroccan Federation of Football President Faouzi Lekjaa were made commanders of the Order of the Throne, the second class honor awarded by the King.
Morocco’s players were awarded officer status, the third-highest award.
The players were joined by their mothers at the event, just as how their mothers played a part in their celebrations on the pitch during the tournament.
Morocco were beaten 2-1 by Croatia in the third-placed playoff, with coach Regragui expressing his pride after his side’s amazing run.
‘Before the tournament we were given 0.01 per cent chance of doing this, and we got to the last four,’ Regragui said.
‘We are now one of the top four teams in the world, and if you had told me that before the tournament I would have taken it. I would not have changed anything.’
Morocco is tipped among the top ten teams to watch out for in the 2026 World Cup. Prior to the 2022 World Cup, Morocco were not ranked among the 10 best teams heading to the 2022 World Cup.
They were placed in Group F alongside two 2018 World Cup top three – Croatia and Belgium. Morocco drew goalless with Croatia in the group stages and defeated Belgium and Canada to win the group.
Eliminating World Cup top contenders Spain and Portugal made the team one of the most promising teams ahead of the 2026 World Cup.