Raucous Morocco fans took to the streets of the Costa del Sol last night in wildly rapturous celebrations after their dogged national team dumped Spain out of the World Cup in the second round.
Towns up and down the coast were suddenly bursting with throngs, singing and cheering and blocking streets and letting off flares and fireworks as the Morocco-supporting population came out to party.
They proudly celebrated their underdog footballing nation defeating the mighty La Roja on penalties, after holding out for a 0-0 draw.
The match was nothing short of a disaster for the Spanish, with the team managing to fashion just one shot on target during 120 minutes of play against a team that defended with eleven men.
When the inevitable penalties finally came round, such an impotent performance clearly played on the nerves of the Spain team, as they missed each and every penalty they took to leave the World Cup in humiliation.
But while the Spanish filed out of the bars disconsolate and downcast, for Spain’s sizable Moroccan and Moroccan-supporting citizens, the gleeful celebrations were just beginning.
There are estimated to be over 300,000 Moroccan nationals and Spanish nationals of Moroccan descent in Andalucia, and it seemed like each and every one of them had gone to the streets to party, momentarily turning the region back into Al-Andalus.
However the tone of the celebrations veered into uncomfortable at times, reflecting the difficult relationship that Spain has with Morocco and with its Moroccan immigrants.
There were reports of police clashes in Granada and fights breaking out in Huelva, and riot police were prepared across the country.
Outside of Andalucia, there were reports of Morocco fans rampaging through Bilbao and cars set on fire in the Catalan town of Reus.
However, the worst rioting took place beyond the borders of Spain, with violent clashes occurring in Milan, Brussels, Amsterdam, Lille and Nice, as had occurred after Morocco defeated Belgium in the group stages.
The Europe-wide trouble between Moroccan immigrant populations and their host cities raises uncomfortable questions about social cohesion and communal harmony, and has been seized upon by extremist elements.
Italy’s far-right minister of transport, Matteo Salvini, wrote on Twitter: “Morocco eliminates Spain, so they ‘celebrate’ in Milan… I hope that those responsible are identified and pay all damages.”