While four Arab teams exited the World cup in the first round, five players of Arab origin who hold dual citizenship are playing in the semifinals for European teams.
1. Nacer Chadli
A midfielder on the Belguim team, he scored the winning goal for Belgium against Japan, to take Belgium into the quarter final.
Chadli is of Moroccan origin, and holds two passports. In 2010, he played for the Moroccan national team but after one year he wasn’t comfortable and moved back to play with the Belgium national team officialy in 2011.
2. Marouane Fellaini
Also of Moroccan origin and a midfielder in the Belgian team. He was born in 1987 and plays for Manchester United.
Marouane’s father was the goal keeper of the Raja Casablanca team which is a Moroccan local team. He tried to follow his father’s lead as he told Hesspress, a Moroccan newspaper. Marouane tried in 2008 to join the Moroccan Olympic national team but he was rejected and at that time the team coach told him his height doesn’t qualify him as a football player.
3. Dries Mertens
Another player of Moroccan origin, plays for Napoli and is also on the Belgium National team. He plays as a forward.
4. Adel Rami
The French team defender was born in 1985 in France to Moroccan parents. He is a central defender for the French club Marseille. Adel is not only famous as Pamela Anderson's boyfriend but he has also triggered a controversial debate back in 2008 in Morocco, ahead of the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations. Rami was offered a chance to play for Morocco at the competition by manager Henri Michel. Rami declined the offer, citing his ambition to play for France.
Adel back then said he prefers the screaming of roosters rather than the roaring of Lions, in reference to the French team symbol the Rooster against the Atlas Lions which is the Moroccan national team symbol.
5. Nabil Fekir
He was born in 1993 in France and holds an Algerian passport also. He plays as an attacking midfielder for Lyon and since 2015 has been on the French national team.
In 2017, the Algerian national team asked Fekir to join them, but according to his agent he refused and chose to play for the French national team.