On video: the football match between France and Morocco (photo: Walla system!)
For nearly four whole weeks, the Moroccan soccer team managed to forget almost all the disputes and troubles of the Arab world.
Over the past month, Morocco's red-green flag has flown proudly in large parts of the Middle East and North Africa, and even in Western Europe, where large Moroccan communities live.
The Moroccan team brought pride and made a good name for a region that had become synonymous with wars and religious conflicts, and for a brief moment everything was dwarfed by the achievements of the Atlas Lions.
Even the Palestinians, who were outraged by Morocco's normalization with Israel, wrapped themselves in its flags and celebrated in the streets its historic victories over the European powers, who had difficulty overcoming the home atmosphere enjoyed by the Moroccan national team.
But then came France, Morocco's former colonial control, and stopped the Arab dream of qualifying for the World Cup finals and perhaps even bringing home a historic trophy.
And in a few days, when the glorious spotlight in Qatar will finally fade and the memory of the performances on the grass will fade, reality will creep back into the face of the Arab world.
back to reality.
Morocco fans watch the semi-final against France in Casablanca, Wednesday (Photo: Reuters)
Apart from the Gulf countries, whose already bloated pockets have been lined by the surge in energy prices since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, the rest of the Arab world is facing an acute economic crisis.
The global inflation and the blows suffered by the tourism industries during the corona epidemic forced many countries to cut government spending and subsidize basic products, and the desperation and anger among the citizens is intensifying.
In Jordan, protests began in recent days against the increase in fuel prices, in Egypt there is a shortage of wheat due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the Syrian pound is at an all-time low.
Iraq is struggling to break free from Iran's shadow, and Yemen, Libya and Sudan, which are in internal conflicts, are not to be mentioned.
Tunisia, once the hope of the Arab world, is slowly returning to dictatorial rule.
And to the disappointment of the Palestinians, whose flag was hoisted by the players of the Moroccan national team after victories and by many fans in the Arab world, they will once again discover that they are not at the center of the regional leaders' agenda.
The feelings of the street separately, and the actions of the leadership separately.
Most of the rulers currently have no intention of giving up their ties, overt or covert, with Israel - even if the next government is expected to include elements that strongly reject the idea of establishing an independent Palestinian state.
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Thus, despite the romance that accompanies the thought that football can bring positive change to the world, history proves otherwise.
France, for example, did not become less polarized just because it won two World Cups in the last quarter of a century, and even if it wins a third cup in total and second in a row, the social divides will not unite just because of it.
Argentina, its rival, also knows this closely.
Its victory in the dubious World Cup hosted by the military junta in 1978 did not stop the regime's crimes from continuing, and even if Lionel Messi fulfills a dream and returns home with his first World Cup, Argentina's current economic woes will not go away.
The past few weeks have been a delightful escapism for the Arab world, especially for the younger generation who are having trouble realizing their dreams.
But what will be left after Qatar's magnificent stadiums are cleaned, or dismantled, by foreign workers is nothing more than an image victory for the rulers of the wealthy emirate.
They managed to cover with concrete the criticism voiced towards the state of human rights in the country and were even granted a visit to the stands by French President Emmanuel Macron, who came to watch the semi-final and final stages.
On Sunday evening, when it's all over, the ordinary Arab citizen will find himself in the same place he was in mid-November, with very little hope of improvement in the foreseeable future.