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World Cup Qualifying: African rivals aim for knockout blow

Cameroon (Reuters)

by TRAVIS CLARK

Three more World Cup spots will be sealed on Saturday, and with the tournament held in the same continent, desperation will be at a maximum as African qualification finishes. Two spots are already held by the continent's two best teams, as Ghana and the Ivory Coast have both safely secured a place in the World Cup.

But for six other nations, that number will likely be reduced by half at the close of the day. And for those six nations — Tunisia, Cameroon, Algeria, Egypt, Gabon and Nigeria — there are a number of interesting scenarios that could see them through.

With only one group featuring the top-two teams going up against each other, some of the clubs out for qualification could use a little help. There are a number of interesting scenarios, and one that may see play extended to one more match next week.

Here's a closer look at the remaining groups:

Group A: Gabon and Cameroon

Cameroon is in charge in this group, needing to simply win against Morocco to see them through. And while Alex Song and Samuel Eto'o's home nation will be starved for a World Cup appearance after missing out in 2006, there is still work to do. The three points will have to be picked up in Morocco, hardly the most difficult task as the home nation has picked up just three draws in Group A.

Gabon may have something to say about Cameroon's stake for South Africa. The tiny West African is out for their first-ever World Cup appearance, and if results favor them in Morocco, it's not out of question that Gabon could beat Togo and steal Group A from Cameroon's grasp. Comprised of players from France, Belgium, Israel and Turkey, it's an interesting mashup of leagues.

With just one point separating the two, a draw would make things interesting. If Cameroon loses by three goals or more, and Gabon grab just a point, the latter make it.

Group B: Tunisia and Nigeria

Nigeria need some major help from Mozambique, or must come to terms with the prospect of missing another World Cup. Tunisia holds a two-point lead on the Eagles, and with a win will progress to their second straight tournament. A Tunisian draw would be some help to Nigeria, who hold the upper hand in the case both sides finish on level points.

Both sides must win away from the comforts of home, as Nigeria heads to Nairobi, while Tunisia visits Maputo.

Group C: Algeria and Egypt

This is the big one. Two nations that have plenty of hate for each other already go head-to-head to win Group C. And the advantage is all Algeria, sitting three points ahead of the Pharaohs on the table. Making Egypt's life even more difficult is the goal differential: Algeria's plus seven versus just plus three.

To make it simple, Egypt need to hammer Algeria in Cairo in order to win the group — winning by at least three goals. A two goal victory for Egypt would create the need for a one-off playoff that would be held Wednesday, November 18 in Sudan.

Algeria is out to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986. And they have a smattering of players who toil in Italy, France, Greece and England. A win or draw for them would be a huge bonus, clinching a trip south next summer.
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What do you think about the final day of African World Cup qualifying? Who is going through and who won't?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. Yep. It was the last qualifier for the 2002 WC. People don’t realize that Egypt had taken 4 points out of 6 vs Senegal that year in the group and would have gone instead of them had they won that game.

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  2. I don’t remember that match. So it was in Algeria and Algerian fans were throwing things, eliminating any chance Egypt had to score a winner and qualify for the World Cup? With no replay or anything? Sounds nuts

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  3. Algerie will advance in Egypt.

    Here’s the deal, the 2nd place teams qualify for the Cup of Nations, so tomorrow’s matches all mean something. If you’re able to watch Algerie Egypt tomorrow, do it. This is gonna be crazy and one hell of a match.

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  4. I would put Egypt as one of the top two teams in Africa considering their ACN success over the past 4 years. Algeria and Egypt have a history of screwing over their respective teams in the last day with the last time coming in 2002 when Egypt only needed to win at Algeria to make the World Cup. The match was halted for 35 minutes bc the Algerian fans were throwing bottles at the Egyptian players and here was no re-match and the game ended 1-1, causing riots in Cairo. Ha

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  5. Does anybody know where one can find an internet feed of the Egypt-Algeria match?

    I don’t usually see African qualifiers at the “usual suspect” sites.

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  6. I’d like to see Egypt through, with their success in Africa it seems like they finally deserve to go to the big dance where hopefully they’ll rise to the occassion (as long as they aren’t in our group). Of course, it seems like Nigeria should be there too given their history, but I don’t see that. And Cameroon will definitely go through. I’m looking for an African nation in the the semis this world cup, and who knows from there.

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