France have won FIFA World Cup semifinal but Morocco has won everyone’s hearts

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This year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar has been more than just a series of football games — somewhere between the swift kicks and the ball passes, our hearts have become enmeshed into the goal net. From a whole screening festival for Brazil in Karachi’s Lyari to rooting for Morocco because it was the closest ally for us, being a Muslim state and sharing a similar history of colonisation, it has been an exciting ride.

On Thursday, Morocco lost to France but it made history nonetheless, being the first ever Afro-Arab nation to make it to the semifinals. With a 2-0 win, France advanced to a classic final against Argentina four years on from their World Cup triumph in Russia.

This is one of those rare times where a loss has resulted in cheers because fans are still celebrating Morocco. Twitter is filled with congratulatory messages, thanking the team for making it this far and giving fans something to root for so passionately. Even French player Kylian Mbappé consoled Moroccan player Achraf Hakimi, reminding him they’ve made history.

Actors Osman Khalid Butt and Fakhr-e-Alam, and Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari sent encouraging messages to the African team for all they’ve accomplished, telling them they can hold their heads up high despite the end.

If this song starts playing when you lose, know you have won over hearts for real. It has been a journey of incredible highs, all thanks to Morocco. “The Atlas lions will bounce back”, indeed.

The last blow of the whistle brought the French team to their knees, implying that Morocco really gave them a run for their money. We love it when a team brings a part of them on-field and shows it off proudly.

Some golden moments from the tournament that will stay with us. Love from Lyari was ever-present for the semifinal. Congratulations to France on making it to the final and to Morocco for making their way into thousands of hearts.