Moroccan Soccer Fans Clash with Brussels Police After World Cup Qualifier

Tricia Pearson
November 13, 2017

Unlike Morocco, who missed out on four previous World Cup tournaments (Japan-Korea 2002, Germany 2006, South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014), Cote d'Ivoire has qualified for the three previous World Cups.

Tunisia claimed the other spot despite being held to a goalless draw at home by Libya in Group A of the African qualifiers.

The violence that broke out late Saturday in central Brussels after the qualification of the Moroccan national football team for the next World Cup injured 22 police officers, police told Belga news agency.

Tunisia players pose for a team photo.

Euphoria took over the streets of Moroccan cities as the Atlas Lions secured a well-deserved qualification to the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation following a 2-0 victory in an epic battle against Côte d'Ivoire in Abidjan.

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But it was the Moroccans who got the breakthrough when Nabil Dirar's cross evaded everyone and found its way it to the net.

Had Tunisia lost, the two teams would have finished level on points and goal difference and Congo would have taken the World Cup place for scoring more goals in the qualifying campaign.

Two stoppage-time goals through Jonathan Bolingi and Neeskens Kebano, which sealed a 3-1 win against Guinea, was not enough for Florent Ibenge's side, who needed Libya to record a victory over the Eagles of Carthage on Saturday.

But after weathering an early storm, including a potential penalty call, Morocco scored two goals in the space of five minutes to put themselves on their way to the finals, where their last appearance was in France in 1998.

The Atlas Lions just needed to avoid defeat in order to book their place in Russian Federation, but took all three points.

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