As the sun rose over Morocco on Wednesday morning, the fun and excitement of the previous night was far from over.
It was just a few hours after the Moroccan football team made history – a place in the quarterfinals of the World Cup after defeating Spain on Tuesday evening in Doha.
It was an unprecedented achievement for a side that many had picked to be in the last eight.
In Doha, fans sang, danced and celebrated until dawn. And it was a feeling that was not lost on the Moroccans at home.
“What a great day to be Moroccan,” Abdessamad told Al Jazeera in Marrakesh. “My heart sank every time we failed to score when we had a chance. When Spain missed their penalties, I forgot everything around me. Suddenly, a loud noise around me made me realize that we had reached the quarter-finals.
“Our team is on the way to something magical, something big, something crazy.”
In the capital Rabat, restaurants were full of people eager to watch the game, the streets were packed and the stadiums were full of flags and Moroccans wearing team jerseys. Hope and optimism were common.
The victory gave them reason to celebrate all night.
“This is the first time I have heard of this,” Fahd Belbachir told Reuters news agency. We are very proud.
It was a day when history was made and Moroccans on the streets in the morning said they could not be prouder of what the team has achieved.
Others were in disbelief, unable to understand that the dream was real.
“We are very proud of our lions, who fought to get us into the quarterfinals,” said Niama Meddoun, a resident of Rabat. “We are happy to be Moroccans today, as we are the first Arab country to reach the final.”
Videos circulating online showed Morocco’s King, Mohammed VI, celebrating with the Moroccan flag.
He praised the national team “who gave their all and gave their all for the game”. He added that the players represent “the hopes and dreams of the Moroccan people in Morocco, Qatar, and around the world”.
With only eight of the 32 teams remaining, Morocco is the only Arab and African nation in the tournament in the first World Cup to be held in the Middle East.
Morocco’s success in the competition has also come to the Arab world and among Moroccans and other European immigrants.
Ceuta is a Spanish state bordering Morocco on the North African coast. Its population is a mixture of Spanish and Moroccan residents and workers. The Associated Press reported that the victory was also celebrated with cars honking their horns there.
“Pride, what joy, now to celebrate with friends. I have left my words,” said 20-year-old Ismael Mustafa. “We were able to remove it. About Spain? You will win next time, so don’t worry.”
Moroccan television broadcasted news to celebrate the various celebrations taking place in cities and regions throughout Morocco.
What happens to all: happy supporters are enjoying this event. “Spain is gone, who’s next” was a common refrain throughout the country.
“The national team does not only represent Moroccans, but it represents Arabs and Africans from all over the world,” one fan told Al Jazeera in Marrakesh. “Football has united all these countries under the flag of Morocco.”
Khadija Satou reports in Marrakech and Faras Ghani in Doha