World Cup Qatar: Five times Palestine was in the spotlight

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar has almost come to an end. The finale between Argentina and France takes place this Sunday the 18th, but ‘the winner of this World Cup is already known, it is Palestine’, said Riyad Mansour, Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations, following the outpour of support at the football tournament. Here are just five of these moments.

1. Morocco raised Palestinian flag after win against Spain
After Morocco defeated Spain 3-0 with penalties in the Round of 16, the national team raised the Palestinian flag.

In the historic match, Morocco advanced to the quarter-finals of the World Cup, where they won against Portugal and became the first Arab team to ever qualify for the semi-finals. Morocco had to leave the tournament after being defeated by France on Tuesday, December 14, but will still play against Croatia on the 17th to determine which country places third.

2. England fan on Israelian TV
On December 4, England defeated Senegal with a 3-0 win. After the match, an Israelian journalist interviewed a group of four men for a live TV broadcast. The presenter asked whether or not it was ‘coming home’, to which they replied positively. One fan started chanting the popular phrase before interrupting himself and shouting directly into the mic: ‘But, but, but, more importantly, free Palestine!’

3. Palestinian flags at the 48th minute
Palestinian flags were raised by Tunisian and Moroccon fans in the 48th minute of the matches against Australia and Belgium, respectively. This was in reference to the Nakba (‘disaster’, ‘catastrophe’, ed.) of 1948, where over 700,000 Palestinians were evicted from their homes.

4. Tunisian fan runs on field with Palestinian flag
During the Group D match between France and Tunisia, on November 30, a Tunisian fan ran onto the field, flying a Palestinian flag. The man took advantage of the celebrations for the first and only goal, by French player Wahbi Khazr. He was quickly intercepted by stadium security and escorted off the field, but not before the whole stadium applauded him and started chanting ‘Palestine’.

5. ‘We will redeem you, O Palestine’
On the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, November 29, the Netherlands played against Qatar. During the match, fans can be heard chanting an Arabic slogan that translates to ‘With spirit and blood, we will redeem you, O Palestine’.


Text: Ranne De Cock
Photo: scottgunn (CC BY-NC 2.0)