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Moroccans Flock to France Fight in Doha

FILE: Al Thumama Stadium, Doha, Qatar - December 10, 2022. Morocco coach Walid Regragui celebrates after the match as Morocco progress to the semi finals

Morocco's Royal Air Maroc will operate 30 special flights to carry soccer fans from Casablanca to Doha for the country's Wednesday World Cup semifinal game against France, the airline said on Monday. The flights would depart on Tuesday and Wednesday, it said.

"In order to allow the many Moroccans wanting to support the national team at its peak and experience the emotion of the World Cup semi-final, Royal Air Maroc has set up an air bridge between Casablanca and Doha," the firm said in a statement on Monday.

Morocco beat Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal 1-0 on Saturday, becoming the first African or Arab team to qualify for a World Cup semi-final and sparking celebrations across the Arab world.

The North African kingdom's airline called it a "historic qualification" and said jumbo jets would operate the 30 return flights leaving on Tuesday and Wednesday in time for the match.

To the delight of Moroccans, and not just soccer fans, the country has become the first in Africa ever to qualify for World Cup semifinals.

Passengers on the promotionally priced round trips will add to thousands of Moroccans who are already attending the soccer tournament in Doha.

Coach Walid Regragui, who took up the job just three months before the start of the tournament, has repeatedly called Moroccan supporters "the 12th member of the team."

This report was prepared with data from Reuters and Agence France-Presse.