Morocco fans in Rabat were understandably subdued after their team were knocked out of the Women’s World Cup, following a 4-0 defeat to France on Tuesday.
After becoming the first Arab nation to advance to the knockout stage, the last 16 match against the team ranked number five in the world was a step too far for the Atlas Lionesses.
Eugenie Le Sommer scored twice as France advanced to the quarter-finals and ended Morocco's historic debut run at the tournament.
"As we know, the France women’s team is among the strongest participating in the 2023 Women’s World Cup, that in itself is an achievement for the Morocco soccer team. We are proud of them, because this is the first time the Morocco women’s soccer team has participated in the World Cup." says Ayoub, a Morocco fan in Rabat.
Touria, another fan described the Atlas Lionesses performance as inspiring. ".... it's a first, and it's very good, they are like an example for the young girls here in Morocco. It's inspiring, it means that we can become anything we want, even play football, whereas it's not been very long since football was considered a sport for men and today the girls are in Australia to participate in the World Cup, they arrived for the eighth final. Today they did not play very well, but it does not matter...."
Reynald Pedros’ team were the first Arab nation to register a win in the competition by beating South Korea in the group stage.
They followed that by upsetting group winners Colombia to advance to the round of 16 at the expense of Germany.
Despite the heavy defeat fans of the team ranked 72 in the world were proud of their achievements at the World Cup and believe it can inspire future generations.