Aida Alami is a freelance journalist and regular contributor to, among other publications, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, Financial Times, and Bloomberg. (June 2018)

Follow Aida Alami on Twitter: @AidaAlami.

NYR DAILY

World Cup 2018: Morocco’s Glimpse of the Possible

Noureddine Amrabat throwing aside his protective headgear during Morocco’s match against Portugal at the Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia, June 20, 2018

No matter how disillusioned you are with your country’s team or how frustrated with your country’s government, it still hurts to see a squad of players, dressed in the national colors, not succeed. But as that strong final game reminded me, it’s hard not to feel proud when they do. Between that opening loss to Iran and the second half against Spain, something changed. Maybe it happened sixteen minutes into the Portugal game, when our ebullient winger Nordin Amrabat, who had received a head injury in the game against Iran, tossed away his protective headgear and urged the team on. That won Moroccans’ hearts.