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Riots break out in Belgium, Netherlands after Morocco’s shock win at World Cup

Belgium is home to around 500,000 people of Moroccan descent.

Riot police officers stand along a main boulevard in Brussels, Sunday. (AP)

Moments after Morocco stunned World No 2 Belgium 2-0 in the ongoing FIFA World Cup, riots broke out in several Belgian and Dutch cities.

Morocco’s victory was a major upset at the World Cup and was enthusiastically celebrated by fans with Moroccan immigrant roots in many Belgian and Dutch cities.

A riot police officer walks along a main boulevard in Brussels. (AP)

Police had to seal off parts of the Belgian capital and the port city of Antwerp, while officers also deployed water cannons and fired tear gas to disperse crowds as violence broke out following the match.

Police detained about a dozen people after they deployed water cannons and fire tear gas to disperse crowds in Brussels and eight more in the Northern city of Antwerp.

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Brussels mayor Philippe Close urged people to stay away from the city center and said authorities were doing their utmost to keep order in the streets. Even subway and tram traffic had to be interrupted on police orders.

Police cars drive along a main boulevard in Brussels as violence broke out during and after Morocco’s 2-0 win over Belgium at the World Cup. (AP)

“Those are not fans, they are rioters. Moroccan fans are there to celebrate,” Close said. There were also disturbances in the city of Antwerp and Liege.

“Sad to see how a few individuals abuse a situation to run amok,” said Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden.

Belgium is home to around 500,000 people of Moroccan descent.

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Police in the neighboring Netherlands said violence erupted in the port city of Rotterdam, with riot officers attempting to break up a group of 500 football supporters who pelted police with fireworks and glass. Media reported unrest in the capital Amsterdam and The Hague.

Moroccan soccer supporters cheer as they stand next to a burned out car in Brussels. (AP)

Police took action in Rotterdam, where some 500 people gathered near the city centre, as well as in The Hague, Amsterdam and Utrecht, Dutch police tweeted.

“Supporters threw fireworks and glass at the riot police who then carried out charges”, Rotterdam police said.

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Police took action in Rotterdam, where some 500 people gathered near the city centre, as well as in The Hague, Amsterdam and Utrecht, Dutch police tweeted.

Quick recap

Morocco captain Romain Saiss gave his team the lead with a barely noticeable deflection off his hip after a free kick from Abdelhamid Sabiri in the 73rd minute that got under the body of Courtois — for many, the best goalkeeper in the world.

Zakaria Aboukhlal guided a shot into the roof of the net off a pass from Hakim Ziyech in stoppage time to make it 2-0 as Belgium’s defense, boasting more than 300 international appearances but anchored by two players in their mid-30s, was beaten by a speedy 22-year-old forward playing at his first World Cup.

First published on: 28-11-2022 at 08:44 IST
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