Sunday, March 3, 2024

World Cup 2022: African teams shine in second round of group matches

A fan celebrating the goal scored by Ghana during their match against Portugal. Photo: Shaheen Abdulla/Maktoob

After Asian teams made a good start in the FIFA World Cup 2022 in the first round of group matches, Africans showed their strength in the second round with three pivotal wins, impressive if you consider only five teams from the continent qualify to participate in the tournament.

This World Cup is special for African fans as all five teams representing Africa in the tournament have African coaches.

In group A, Reigning African champions Senegal defeated host Qatar 3-1 paving the exit for the Maroons. It was also the first win for an African nation in the tournament.

The next one was a disappointment for Africans. Tunisia lost over Australia 1-0 but the gripping performance by the Arab side meant something for the fans.

However, the big moment was Morocco defeating World second-ranked Belgium 2-0, a lasting gift for the electrifying fans at the stadium. Morocco’s win triggered rioting in Brussels and Dutch cities.

Cameroon finished in a draw with Serbia that saw six goals, keeping both fans on the edge of their seat. Vincent Aboubakar, who plays for Saudi Arabian side Al Nassr, is going to be under the radar of big clubs after a stunning performance and an unforgettable goal.

The same day, Ghana made a climax win against South Korea 3-2 with the African golden boy, Mohammed Kudus, entertaining the spectators. The Ajax midfielder scored twice.

Round 16

Only three teams have qualified for the pre-quarter — France, Brazil and Portugal — after the second round, leaving many favourites of the tournament to fight hard in the last round to secure their World Cup dreams.

Senegal needs to win against Ecuador to find its spot in the last 16.

Morocco after their win against Belgium. Photo: FIFA

For Tunisia, the next is against reigning World champions France who have already confirmed their spot in the next round. Even a win won’t make it for the North African team but the result of Denmark vs Australia will also determine their faith in the tournament.

Morocco will play against relatively less threatening Canada who has already exited the tournament. The win against Belgium and the draw with Croatia give hope to the Arab side.

Cameroon will play Brazil which is one of the favourites of the World Cup but is still not in its best form. Only a win can help them find a spot in the last 16.

Ghana will play at its best against Uruguay, not only for the pre-quarter spot but also to settle a score with Suarez from the 2010 World Cup quarter-finals.

No team from Africa has yet made it beyond the quarterfinals of the World Cup.


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