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Overflow crowd in Dearborn cheers on Moroccan national team in World Cup semifinal

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio
A largely pro-Moroccan crowd in Dearborn, Michigan watched an cheered during Wednesday's World Cup semi-final

An overflow crowd in Dearborn Wednesday cheered on the first African and majority-Arab national team to play in a World Cup semifinal.

More than 2,000 people jammed inside Dearborn’s Ford Community & Performing Arts Center to watch the match being played between Morocco and defending World Cup champion half a world away in Qatar.

Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud expected an enthusiastic crowd for the game.

“The World Cup, when it’s on, Dearborn is lively,” said Hammoud, “It’s the place you want to be to watch the World Cup.”

Hammoud was right about the crowd. Every time the Moroccan national team drew close to scoring a goal in its semifinal with France, the crowd roared.

It was hard to miss Sayeed Echakruri. He was the one loudly beating a drum throughout the match. A Moroccan himself, Echakruri said he’s proud of the way the team played in the tournament, including defeating highly ranked teams from Spain and Portugal to earn a semifinal berth.

“It’s awesome for us, our country. We’re now in history,” said Echakruri.

Sadly for the Moroccan fans, defending champion France won the match 2-0.

Morocco will now play Croatia in the third-place game on Saturday.

France will play Argentina for the World Cup championship on Sunday.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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