ASomething historic happened for all Moroccans on Saturday night. The national team advanced to the semi-finals of the World Cup after beating Portugal 1-0. On St. Nicholas Day, they secured their place in the quarter-finals of a World Cup against favorites Spain for the first time in a thrilling penalty shoot-out.
Even then the euphoria of the fans could not be stopped. 5000 people celebrated in the Frankfurt city area, mainly near the Konstablerwache. The game against Portugal promised similar ecstasy if they won.
Almost everyone in the red and green national jersey
The Moroccan restaurant Tatie at Frankfurt Central Station is already full an hour before kick-off on Saturday. Almost everyone is wearing the red and green Moroccan national jersey this afternoon. Many have painted the national colors on their faces. Two large flags hang on the wall. It’s loud and the atmosphere is euphoric. Owner Karim Chamlal has to turn away many guests who spontaneously want to visit the restaurant on this day.
“We are completely full. Every table is reserved,” he says to a guest who wants to watch the game with a friend from Munich. He believes his country will win. “We have already won against Spain. Then it will work now,” says Chamlal.
From the start, the guests in the shop believed they would make it into the semi-finals. The mood is happy but also nervous. Even the round of 16 was a real thrill for many.
In the frenzy of joy
“I locked myself in the bathroom during extra time on Tuesday,” says 46-year-old Mourad Faiz from Darmstadt. He never thought that the Moroccan national team would be so successful at this World Cup. “It makes us very proud that we’ve come this far!” He bets on a narrow 1-0 for Morocco before the game. His friend Mohammed guesses 2:1. The two are also very tense before this game: “If it goes into extra time again, we’ll go home first. We can’t stand it.”
Although Tatie has a large TV, Murat Faiz and Mohammed watch the game on their cell phones. A good 50 people stand between them and the TV, covering the TV with drums and dancing and putting the whole restaurant in a party mood.
When Morocco scored the first goal just before the end of the first half, the whole room went into a loud frenzy. With every chance from Portugal after that, the tension in the room is palpable.
Mohammed and Mourad go home in the 75th minute. “We must go. Our nerves can’t take it.”
“Morocco becomes world champion”
Loud fan chants in Arabic are heard again and again. “Hopefully for Morocco, with Allah’s help,” they sing. When it works and the referee ends the game, the fans know no stopping. They dance on the tables, sing and drum. “Morocco will be world champion,” shout many in unison.
After the victory in the round of 16 against Spain, there were boisterous celebrations in Frankfurt with minor incidents in downtown Frankfurt. Shortly after 6 a.m. that evening, the Zeil east of the Konstablerwache is full of people. The revelers block traffic. The police estimate the crowd at two thousand people. In addition to loud trumpets, some fireworks ignite and Bengalos shine. “That was just the beginning,” the fans shout in Arabic, and again “Morocco will be world champions”.
A little later the whole street is full of thick Bengalos smoke. A good 20 young men climb onto a container. Another climbs onto a street lamp. Bilal B., who doesn’t want to give his last name, came all the way from Stuttgart with two friends. In Frankfurt there are simply more Moroccans to celebrate. “We’re happy with everyone, we’ve made history,” he says. As he speaks, a firecracker explodes a few meters from him. He covers his ears. “But it has to remain peaceful,” he says. Otherwise, firecrackers are thrown in the crowd a few times. Injuries were not known until recently.
At 6:30 p.m. Kurt-Schuhmacher-Strasse had to be cleared because of a fire brigade operation. The Frankfurt police announced on Twitter that Kurt-Schumacher-Strasse between Seiler and Berliner Strasse was closed. Around 7 p.m. the Konstablerwache is almost full.
Overall, apart from the firecrackers and bengalos, the police assess the mood as peaceful that evening.