Five African teams were part of 32 others that were entered into a draw for the group stages of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The five African teams are Senegal, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia.
It turns out that from the final draw, Morocco and Nigeria will not have it easy in their respective groups as they face top footballing sides.
Nigeria will be facing former World Champions, Argentina. The Super Eagles recently beat them by 4 – 2 in a friendly. Aside Argentina, they will face Croatia and Iceland in Group D.
Over in Group B, Morocco for their part will face current European champions Portugal and former World Champions Spain as well as the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Tunisia will have work to do as they come up against Belgium, England and Panama in Group G.
Egypt in Group A will put aside all diplomatic engagements when they come up against Saudi Arabia in the group stages. They will also have to deal with the home fans when they face hosts Russia. The other team in the group being Uruguay.
In Group H, Senegal seems to have a quiet group as well. They will face Poland, Colombia and Japan as Sadio Mane and his charges look to do better than the Teranga Lions’ last outing.
GROUP ARussia – Saudi Arabia – Egypt – Uruguay
GROUP BPortugal – Spain – Morocco – Iran
GROUP CFrance – Australia Peru – Denmark
GROUP DArgentina – Iceland – Croatia – Nigeria
GROUP EBrazil – Switzerland – Costa Rica – Serbia
GROUP FGermany (reigning champions) – Mexico – Sweden – Korea Republic
GROUP GBelgium – Panama – Tunisia – England
GROUP HPoland – Senegal – Colombia – Japan
AFRICA’S REPRESENTATIVES AND THEIR WC ‘RECORD’
1. EGYPT – The Pharaohs are making their first world finals appearance since Italy 1990
2. MOROCCO – The Atlas Lions topped African zone Group C in qualification
3. NIGERIA – The Super Eagles have only missed one tournament since their debut at USA 1994
4. SENEGAL – In their debut at Korea/Japan 2002, the Lions of Teranga reached the quarter-finals
5. TUNISIA – At Argentina 1978, the Carthage Eagles became the first African team to win a World Cup match
2014 VS. 2018: IS AFRICAN EXPERIENCING A POWER SHIFT?
In 2014 Africa sent five teams – Ghana, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Algeria. One north Africa and four from sub Saharan Africa.
Four years on, only Nigeria is returning to the showpiece. There are joined by another West Africa side, Senegal.
The three other teams are all from North Africa – Egypt (record African Cup of Nations holders), Morocco and Tunisia. Football watchers are already talking of a power shift.
HERE ARE TEAMS FROM OTHER CONFEDERATIONS
UEFA – EUROPE
BELGIUM – The Belgians went undefeated in topping UEFA Group H in qualifying
CROATIA – The Croatians finished third in their World Cup debut at France 1998
DENMARK – The Danes secured qualification with a comfortable play-off win over Republic of Ireland
ENGLAND – The Three Lions have made the finals 14 times from 16 qualifying campaigns
FRANCE – Les Bleus are making a sixth-straight world finals appearance
GERMANY – The defending world champions registered a 100 per cent record in qualifying
ICELAND – The smallest country by population ever to qualify for a World Cup
POLAND – The Poles finished third at Germany 1974 and Spain 1982
PORTUGAL – A Seleção das Quinas are making a fifth-straight finals appearance
RUSSIA – As the Soviet Union, the World Cup hosts finished fourth at England 1966
SERBIA – The Serbs topped UEFA Group D in qualification with only one defeat
SPAIN – Champions in 2010, Spain’s World Cup debut was at Italy 1934
SWEDEN – The Swedes were runners-up as World Cup hosts in 1958
SWITZERLAND – The Swiss have reached the quarter-finals on three occasions
CONMEBOL – SOUTH AFRICA
ARGENTINA – The two-time champions appeared at the inaugural edition at Uruguay 1930
BRAZIL – A Seleção were the first team to qualify after hosts Russia
COLOMBIA – Los Cafeteros coach Jose Pekerman was in charge of his native Argentina at Germany 2006
PERU – The Peruvians return to the world finals for the first time in 36 years
URUGUAY – La Celeste were world champions as hosts in 1930 and at Brazil 1950
CONCACAF – NORTH AMERICA
COSTA RICA – Los Ticos impressed at Brazil 2014, making the quarter-finals
MEXICO – The Mexicans lost just once in qualifying for Russia 2018
PANAMA – The central Americans are making their World Cup debut in Russia
AFC – ASIA
AUSTRALIA – The Socceroos are making their fifth appearance at a World Cup
IRAN – Team Melli were the first Asian team to qualify for Russia 2018
JAPAN – The Japanese have made the Round of 16 on two occasions
KOREA REPUBLIC – The Taeguk Warriors have been a World Cup ever-present since 1986
SAUDI ARABIA – The Saudis made their World Cup debut at USA 1994
PUTIN MEETS PELE
THE DRAW HAS UNDERGONE EVOLUTION OVER THE YEARS
CAN YOU SPOT THE AFRICAN GREATS?
HOW THE DRAW WORKS
The October 2017 FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking has been used to allocate the qualified teams to the four pots according to their ranking in descending order, after hosts Russia, who take the top seeding spot.
The four pots will be emptied by drawing the eight teams they each contain one by one and placing them in the eight groups of four teams (Groups A to H).
Hosts Russia will occupy the top position in Group A, while the seven other seeds will occupy the top spots in Groups B to H. The positions of all the other teams (from pots 2, 3 and 4) will be decided when they are drawn.
SUMMARY OF WHO IS IN WHICH POT
VENUE: IT TURNS OUT TO BE A PRESIDENTIAL DRAW
It takes place in a concert hall at the State Kremlin Palace, which has a capacity of 6,000. The hall has been graced by some of the world’s leading singers and performers, among them Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Julio Iglesias and Elton John but today its is hosting the crème de la crème of world football.
WHO ARE THE FOOTBALL GREATS TO HELP WITH THE DRAW?
- France’s Laurent Blanc
- England’s Gordon Banks
- Brazil’s Cafu
- Italy’s Fabio Cannavaro
- Uruguay’s Diego Forlan
- Argentina’s Diego Maradona
- Spain’s Carles Puyol
- Russia’s Nikita Simonyan
NOTE: All eight with the exception of Forlan and Simonyan are World Cup winners.