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Morocco in the semi-finals of the World Cup: “A historic day” at Café Balzac in Saint-Brieuc – Saint-Brieuc

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General tea tour! At the Café Balzac in Saint-Brieuc, it is 4 p.m. a few minutes after. They are about thirty Moroccan supporters ready to encourage the Atlas Lions. “I hope we’ll win,” Elyasse thinks out loud. And how ! One of the adults promised the little boy a can of soda on Morocco’s first goal.

At the quarter of an hour of play, a red flag flanked by a green star is hung next to the giant screen, just to put all the chances on the Moroccan side.

Moroccan fans push their team for a second goal. (The Telegram/Marina Chelin)

A few hundred meters away, they are about forty in front of the two screens of the premises of the Portuguese association of Saint-Brieuc. “And still, there are people who work”, warns Anabela, the vice-president of the association, who takes care of the bar.

The first minutes are linked, the Portuguese fans seem serene. It must be said that João Felix’s teammates dominate the game. But without scoring. “You have to be careful, Moroccans are good,” warns Miguel.

Caps, jerseys, scarves.  At the premises of the Portuguese association of Saint-Brieuc, around forty supporters had dressed for the occasion to support their team in the quarter-finals of the
Caps, jerseys, scarves. At the premises of the Portuguese association of Saint-Brieuc, the forty supporters had dressed for the occasion to support their team in the quarter-finals of the World Cup. (The Telegram/Julien Molla)

41st, deliverance

30th, 35th, the attacks of the Lions follow one another. At the Café Balzac, the supporters are standing, clenching their fists, their eyes riveted on the screen. No, it’s not for this time, they sit down again, huffing. But for a short time. The 41st brings the deliverance with the header of En-Nesyri who finds the way to the nets of the Portuguese goalkeeper. Mounir, Jamal, Mohammed and the others burst into joy and hug each other.

In the Portuguese local, it growls. But there’s no question of being discouraged. “It’s not over,” says Damien, as if to invigorate the supporters.

41st minute, En-Nesyri opens the scoring with a header, the supporters exult at Café Balzac!
41st minute, En-Nesyri opens the scoring with a header, the supporters exult at Café Balzac! (The Telegram/Marina Chelin)

It’s already break time. “The team is good. She defends, but she also attacks. The players have confidence, they have nothing to lose,” analyzes Mounir. “We are not Switzerland, we are Morocco! “. “Our players play with heart, that’s what’s good,” rejoices Jamal.

“We will hold on until the end, we will still be there in the final! »

” It’s not over ! »

On the Portuguese side, the second half begins. The atmosphere is heavier. “You have to smile, Mario, it’s not over! “, launches an old. Especially since Portugal continues to attack to equalize. But nothing helps. The minutes pass and the supporters hold their heads in their hands.

For Portuguese fans, the second half is a nightmare.  The chances are linked without Portugal managing to equalize.
For the Portuguese supporters, disillusion sets in in the second half. The chances are linked without Portugal managing to equalize. (The Telegram/Julien Molla)

At Balzac, Mounir and his family never stop standing up and applauding each gesture of defense by their team. 81st, the parade of the Moroccan goalkeeper is greeted with loud cries of relief. At the 86th, we stamp our feet, we stampede at the Café Balzac while waiting for the minutes to pass. It still remains to hold the eight minutes of stoppage of play. And it is the deliverance for the Atlas Lions. We shout and congratulate each other. “It’s a historic day,” says a more than happy Mounir. “We will hold on until the end, we will still be there in the final! “, he predicts, the smile from ear to ear.

After the match, Moroccan fans gathered in the city center of Saint-Brieuc to celebrate their team's historic qualification for the semi-finals of the World Cup.
After the match, Moroccan fans gathered in the city center of Saint-Brieuc to celebrate their team’s historic qualification for the semi-finals of the World Cup. (The Telegram/Julien Molla)



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