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Morocco chases history at FIFA Women's World Cup in Australia

The Moroccan women’s team is the first team from the Arab world to qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Their success follows a historic run by the Moroccan men’s team at last year’s World Cup in Qatar.
Valentina Cernoia of Italy competes for the ball with Fatima Gharbi of Morocco during the Women´s International Friendly match between Italy and Morocco at Stadio Paolo Mazza on July 01, 2023 in Ferrara, Italy. (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images)

Morocco will make its historic debut at the FIFA Women's World Cup being held in Australia on Monday as the only team from the Arab world to make it to the tournament.

The Moroccan team will be the underdog when it plays Germany in its first match in the group stage on Monday. Then the squad faces South Korea on July 30 and Colombia on Aug. 3. Morocco is vying to compete for the round of 16 that begins on Aug. 5. This year’s World Cup is being jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

Morocco qualified for the quadrennial association football/soccer tournament last July after it finished second in the Women's Africa Cup of Nations. In that tournament, the Moroccan team made it to the final but lost to South Africa. King Mohammed VI praised the team for their “seriousness, perseverance and patriotism” at the time, according to the official Maghreb Arabe Press.

The qualification to the Women's World Cup is historic, as Morocco is the first team from an Arabic-speaking country to qualify for the tournament. Soccer has traditionally been dominated by men in North Africa and the Middle East, but women are increasingly entering the game. The Associated Press reported earlier this month that the Moroccan team’s success in inspiring more girls to play in the country and the wider region. Saudi Arabia's women soccer team won a regional tournament early in the year, but did not qualify to play in Australia. 

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