Time for a Tagine


Congratulations Morocco, conquerors of Belgium, Spain and now Portugal are the first African team to make the World Cup semi-finals.

The Maghreb and Middle East are on fire tonight after Youssef En-Nesyi's Ronaldo-esque hanging header sent the North Africans to Wednesday's semi-final at the Al-Bayt stadium in Al Khor.

Time for a Tagine.
Morocco march on the last four in Qatar

The Atlas Lions have gone where Cameroon in 1990 and Ghana in 2010 could not reach having got so close. It is a relief that Africa has finally made the last four and a great day for world football.

Their success is well deserved having sunk three European battleships and only conceded an own-goal all tournament. The Moroccan press and collective desire to disrupt and stop rival attacks and break with an organised chaos has been amazing to behold.

Morocco's win over both Iberian teams as well as Argentina's victory over the Dutch last night seems to have sounded the death knell for possession football, or at least a passing game with no plan B.

Cristiano Ronaldo exited the field in tears as his latest and probably last World Cup dream ended, but his lonely trudge to the changing rooms, while his teammates gathered on the field, did not help quell the impression of a genius with too much narcissism. Teams win and lose as one, not as individuals.


Like all the soccer scribe community I was devastated to hear that American soccer writer Grant Wahl had collapsed and died at last night's Argentina v Netherlands quarter-final. With his work at Sports Illustrated, Grant had been the highest-profile press promoter of the Beautiful Game stateside for years and once even stood for the FIFA Presidency against Sepp Blatter.

Morocco progress.
Grant Wahl, US soccer journalist par excellence

I first met Grant around 15 years ago when he was in England and I was delighted to meet a fellow writer who followed the American game and was struck by how genuine and pleasant a man he was. Having lived in Kansas I was also happy to swap stories with a real Kansan too.

He died suddenly last night in the press box, fittingly perhaps, and leaves a large body of work. Having filed many criticisms of Qatar's human rights record as well as several football reports from the World Cup, Grant had bravely tried to enter a stadium earlier on in the tournament wearing a rainbow t-shirt and was detained for half an hour as a result.

A brave, hard-working, and principled man who was a real pleasure to meet and who loved football.

Qatar 2022

Al Rihla Official Ball

Qatar 50/50

Qatar v Ecuador - Opening Match

Qatar is the World's Cup

Hakuna Matata

Hotels in Doha

Images of Qatar

Offside Technology

Opening Ceremony

Semi Finals

Super Sunday

The Calling

(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

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