Morocco's football trainer condemns rioting in Netherlands, Belgium
Walid Regragui, the coach of the Moroccan men's football team, condemned the rioting in European cities after his team's 2-0 group stage victory at the World Cup. "It is very difficult to see people behave like this. You have to show respect for the country where you were born," he said when during a press conference on Wednesday ahead of the team's decisive group match against Canada on Thursday. Amsterdam police will enforce measures regardless.
After Morocco's great victory, the situation got out of control in Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam, Brussels, and elsewhere. "I don't think they are real Moroccan people. Moroccan people have more respect. In our culture you have to respect everyone," said Regragui.
Morocco has four points in Group F after two games and will be assured of a place in the Round of 16 with a draw or victory over Canada on Thursday. Canada will be playing the role of the spoiler, as they have already been eliminated. The only time Morocco managed to secure a place in the knockout stage of the tournament was during the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. The current squad includes tormer Ajax players Hakim Ziyech and Noussair Mazraoui, former Feyenoord player Sofyan Amrabat and former AZ player Zakaria Aboukhlal.
If his team qualifies, Regragui hopes there will not be any riots. "You can be happy and celebrate, but you have to show respect for everyone. I hope everyone enjoys tomorrow and that afterwards we all dance and cry. Not crying with sadness, but crying because we joined the final 16."
Meanwhile, police in Amsterdam said they will take "visible and invisible measures" on Thursday ahead of Morocco's match against Canada, confirmed a spokesperson. The police put together a plan because of their effort to tackle a riot on Mercatorplein in Amsterdam-West after the victory over Belgium.
She was not willing to say what measures the police will take. One person was arrested in the disturbances, and police have not ruled out more arrests. Detectives on the case are still investigating several incidents, the spokesperson said.
After the game, about five hundred football supporters took to the streets in Amsterdam. In addition to Mercatorplein, it was also crowded at Plein 40-45 in Nieuw-West. However, the party soon turned into rioting. Heavy fireworks were detonated, traffic signs were destroyed, the windows of a flower stall and supermarket were smashed, and several fires were ignited. A carsharing vehicle was also set on fire. The riot police, which was already on stand-by, eventually intervened to restore calm.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times