Israeli soccer fans at the FIFA World Cup on Wednesday denied that Moroccans deliberately tried to snatch their Israel flags during a match in Moscow, after TV footage appeared to show them being attacked.
Video footage taken seconds after the end of the match at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow appeared to show several fans wearing Morocco’s colors confronting two men wearing Israeli flags and trying to pull the pennants off them.
But the group of Israelis told public broadcaster Kan that fans around them were very friendly throughout the match between Morocco and Portugal, and that the fight was merely over one of the Moroccan players’ shirt.
The captain of Morocco’s national team, Medhi Benatia, threw his shirt into the stands after the match ended, very near where the Israelis were standing, causing fans to dive and fight for it, the Israelis said, adding that the tugs on the Israeli flags during the fight were incidental.
“So, we can say that the reports have been ‘fake news?'” asked the Kan interviewer, and the Israeli fans answered “yes.”
“There was a great atmosphere during the game. Everyone welcomed us,” one of the fans told Kan.
Portugal beat Morocco 1-0 in the match as Cristiano Ronaldo scored his fourth goal of the World Cup, condemning the North African team to an early exit.
The five-time world player of the year netted with an early header to go with the hat-trick he scored to rescue the European champions against Spain in their tournament opener.
AFP, Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.