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Germany vs. Mexico: FIFA World Cup Group F – possible line Ups

World champions Germany get the defence of their title underway against Marco Fabian’s Mexico at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Sunday (kick-off: 5 pm CEST/4pm BST/11am ET) with captain Manuel Neuer returning to form and physical fitness at just the correct time.

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The Bayern Munich shot-stopper broke his foot two times in the 2017/18 campaign and was restricted to just three Bundesliga appearances – each and every one of them clean sheets – as the champions sealed their 28th German major-flight title. Getting played a put together 135 minutes in Die Mannschaft’s latest friendlies with Austria and Saudi Arabia, the 32-year-old will guide his team out against Mexico with Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen acting as the 1st understudy. Leroy Sane was perhaps the most surprising omission when coach Joachim Löw announced his ultimate 23-man squad for the match, but with Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus – like Neuer – again to his finest, the Manchester City winger’s absence could perfectly prove to be negligible.

If Germany had been impressive in winning all 10 of their games in UEFA qualifying portion, Mexico had been not far behind. El Tri only missing a single of their twelve games in the CONCACAF zone – their ultimate a single, against Honduras, when qualification was already assured. In Fabian and Carlos Salcedo, Mexico boasts two players who lifted the DFB Cup with Eintracht Frankfurt, at Bayern’s expenditure, in May. The pair is anticipated to begin, with previous Bayer Leverkusen favourite Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez primary the line.

Possible line-ups

Germany: Neuer (c) – Kimmich, Boateng, Hummels, Hector – Kroos, Khedira – Müller, Özil, ReusWerner
Subs: ter Stegen, Ginter, Plattenhardt, Rüdiger, Süle, Brandt, Draxler, Goretzka, Gündogan, Rudy, Gomez, Trapp
Absentees: N/A
Mentor: Joachim Löw

Mexico: Ochoa – Salcedo, Reyes, Moreno, Layun – Marquez, Guardado (c) – Vela, Herrera, Fabian – Chicharito
Subs: Telavera, Alvarez, Ayala, Gallardo, Aquino, G. dos Santos, J. dos Santos, Corona, Jimenez, Lozano, Peralta
Absentees: N/A
Mentor: Juan Carlos Osorio

Match stats

  • Bayern forward Thomas Müller has 10 World Cup goals to his title, the most of any lively player.
  • Germany has played Mexico 13 times, winning 6, with 6 attracts and just a single defeat.
  • The last time the sides satisfied was in the Confederations Cup semi-finals in Russia past June. Germany gained 4-1, with Fabian scoring Mexico’s consolation.
  • The teams have satisfied when just before at the World Cup, with Germany prevailing 2-1 at France ’98, previous United States of America coach Jürgen Klinsmann and latest Germany Team Manager Oliver Bierhoff scoring in Montpellier.
  • This is Germany’s 19th World Cup and they have reached at the minimum the quarter-finals in each and every of the earlier 9 editions, producing it to at minimum the semi-finals at each and every opposition as of 2002.
  • Previous Leverkusen ahead Chicharito is Mexico’s all-time primary goalscorer with 49 goals.
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    2018 World Cup – Group A preview: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Uruguay & Egypt

    Group A at the 2018 World Cup will function a Russian team on the lookout to stay clear of the shame of an initially-spherical exit, although Egypt will be hopeful of advancing in their initial appearance at the event in almost 3 decades.

    Hosts Russia will open the event and the team with a clash against Saudi Arabia in Moscow on 14 June. Although it is barely the most engaging of opening matches for these a significant event, it is a crucial clash for the Russians, who will need to have a sturdy start off to ease fears that they will stick in the footsteps of South Africa in 2010 and come to be just the 2nd host nation to fall at the initial hurdle.

    South American heavyweights Uruguay appear to be the dominant pressure in the team, with Oscar Tabarez’s facet 2nd to only Brazil in the notoriously complicated CONMEBOL qualifying event. Boasting the likes of Diego Godin, Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez, two-time champions ‘La Celeste’ have a very good combination of youth and encounter and ought to have no issues ending in the major two.

    The team most likely to join Uruguay in advancing could properly be Egypt. The North Africans are returning to the World Cup for the initially time since 1990, but they have a talented, multipurpose team and a manager in Hector Cuper whose pragmatism is properly suited to the do-or-die mother nature of event football.

    But the query mark above the fitness of talisman Mohamed Salah is a significant worry, with the Liverpool man in a race against time to be suited for the finals immediately after suffering a severe shoulder personal injury in the UEFA Champions League remaining the final month.

    Saudi Arabia is returning to the World Cup immediately after lacking the final editions in 2010 and 2014, and their reliable displaying in qualifying (they finished runners-up to Asian powerhouses Japan in their team) indicates they are not to be underestimated. The Eco-friendly Falcons are capable of disheartening a lot more talented groups, but they lack the real attacking potency necessary to contend at the maximum amount.

    Group A fixtures (all times CAT)

    14 June 2018, 17h00 – Russia v Saudi Arabia – Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow

    15 June 2018, 14h00 – Egypt v Uruguay – Central Stadium, Yekaterinburg

    19 June 2018, 20h00 – Russia v Egypt – Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg

    20 June 2018, 17h00 – Uruguay v Saudi Arabia – Rostov Arena, Rostov-on-Don

    25 June 2018, 16h00 – Uruguay v Russia – Cosmos Arena, Samara

    25 June 2018, 16h00 – Saudi Arabia v Egypt – Volgograd Arena, Volgograd

    Group A head-to-heads (as per FIFA stats databases, in reference to ‘home’ team)

    Russia v Saudi Arabia – P1 W0 D0 L1 GF2 GA4

    Egypt v Uruguay – P1 W0 D L1 GF0 GA2

    Russia v Egypt – No preceding matches

    Uruguay v Saudi Arabia – P2 W0 D1 L1 GF3 GA4

    Uruguay v Russia – P8 W1 D2 L5 GF5 GA14

    Saudi Arabia v Egypt – P6 W1 D1 L4 GF7 GA19

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    African teams learn 2018 World Cup group rivals – 2018 FIFA World Cup


    by
    Austin Ditlhobolo

    Friday Dec 01, 2017. 18:37


    The draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals was conducted at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow on Friday.

    Thirty-two teams including five African nations were drawn into eight groups of four.

    Egypt, who qualified for the finals for the first time since 1990, were pitted against Saudi Arabia, Uruguay and the host nation, Russia.

    Their North African rivals Morocco were drawn into Group B along with Portugal, Spain and Iran. Morocco will make their sixth appearance in the finals next year.

    Three-time African champions Nigeria, who will also make their sixth appearance in the finals next year, were drawn into Group D along with Argentina, Iceland and Croatia.

    North African giants Tunisia were pitted against Panama, England and Belgium in Group G. Tunisia qualified for the finals for the first time since 2006.

    Lastly, West African side Senegal are in Group H along with Poland, Colombia and Japan. Senegal will make their second appearance in the finals in Russia.

    Group A – Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay

    Group B – Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran

    Group C – France, Australia, Peru, Denmark

    Group D – Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria

    Group E – Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia

    Group F – Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea

    Group G – Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England

    Group H – Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan



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    Nigeria learn 2018 CHAN group rivals


    by
    Austin Ditlhobolo

    Sunday Nov 19, 2017. 13:00


    The draw for the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) has been conducted.

    Morocco will host the continental tournament between 12 January and 4 February 2018.

    The tournament hosts have been pitted against Guinea, Sudan and Mauritania in Group A.

    African giants Nigeria are in Group C along side Libya, Rwanda and Equatorial Guinea.

    The matches will be played in Casablanca, Marrakech, Tangier and Agadir.

    2018 CHAN Groups

    Group A (Casablanca)

    Morocco

    Guinea

    Sudan

    Mauritania

    Group B (Marrakech)

    Cote d’Ivoire

    Zambia

    Uganda

    Namibia

    Group C (Tangier)

    Libya

    Nigeria

    Rwanda

    Equatorial Guinea

    Group D (Agadir)

    Angola

    Cameroon

    Congo

    Burkina Faso



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    Egypt, Ghana play to draw in final Group E fixture – WAFU Cup of Nations 2017


    by
    Staff Reporter

    Sunday Nov 12, 2017. 20:10


    Ghana were held to a 1-1 draw by Egypt in a 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi on Sunday, in what was a mere formality as the Pharaohs now turn their attention to Russia.

    Egypt had already qualified for a first World Cup in 28 years heading into the fixture in the Ashanti region and duly end top of Group E with 13 points from six matches.

    A disappointing campaign for the Black Stars ends with them having accumulated seven points from their allotted fixtures – the tally ensuring a third place finish behind both the North African’s and Uganda.

    Mubarak Wakaso – back on the international stage – expressed his intent in the early exchanges with Sherif Ekramy called into action on two occasions to deny the midfielder in the opening 15 minutes.

    In whole, though, it was a rather uneventful opening stanza with Egypt’s first shot on target coming in the 43rd minute. Richard Ofori with a good save to deny Mahmoud ‘Trezequet’ Ibrahim from a tight angle.

    Ghana enjoyed a late flurry, but they failed in their attempts to break the deadlock with the two teams tied at 0-0 heading into the tunnel at the break.

    Egypt emerged with more drive following the interval and duly opened the scoring throughMahmoud ‘Shikabala’ Abdelrazek in the 61st minute.

    The playmaker’s left-footed rocket leaving the Ghanaian shot-stopper with little chance as Egypt hit the front. Trezequet with the pin-point cross as Shikabala made no mistake.

    Their lead, though, would last all but three minutes as Edwin Gyasi leveled matters in the 64th minute. His shot taking a wicked deflection off Aly Gabr before whistling past Ekramy.

    Ghana pushed forward in search of the winner and had a chance to seal all three points in stoppage-time, but Daniel Amartey was unable to force the ball home from close range after Richmond Yiadom’s s rasping effort was fumbled by Ekramy.

    Ghana (0) 1 (Abdelrazek 61′)

    Egypt (0) 1 (Gyasi 64′)

    Ghana: R.Ofori, Afful, Angenyenu, Nuhu, Amartey, Wakaso, Gyasi, E.Ofori, Dwamena (Yiadom 74′), Donsah (Waris 50′), Ampomah (Twumasi 41′).

    Egypt: Ekramy, Gabr, Elmohamady, Rabiea (Samir 33′), Moursy, Abdelrazek (Elsaeyd 65′), Marei (Gamal 76′), Sobhi, Hafez, Elneny, Ibrahim.



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    Egypt, Ghana play to draw in final Group E fixture – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


    by
    Staff Reporter

    Sunday Nov 12, 2017. 19:55


    Ghana were held to a 1-1 draw by Egypt in a 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi on Sunday, in what was a mere formality as the Pharaohs now turn their attention to Russia.

    Egypt had already qualified for a first World Cup in 28 years heading into the fixture in the Ashanti region and duly end top of Group E with 13 points from six matches.

    A disappointing campaign for the Black Stars ends with them having accumulated seven points from their allotted fixtures – the tally ensuring a third place finish behind both the North African’s and Uganda.

    Mubarak Wakaso – back on the international stage – expressed his intent in the early exchanges with Sherif Ekramy called into action on two occasions to deny the midfielder in the opening 15 minutes.

    In whole, though, it was a rather uneventful opening stanza with Egypt’s first shot on target coming in the 43rd minute. Richard Ofori with a good save to deny Mahmoud ‘Trezequet’ Ibrahim from a tight angle.

    Ghana enjoyed a late flurry, but they failed in their attempts to break the deadlock with the two teams tied at 0-0 heading into the tunnel at the break.

    Egypt emerged with more drive following the interval and duly opened the scoring throughMahmoud ‘Shikabala’ Abdelrazek in the 61st minute.

    The playmaker’s left-footed rocket leaving the Ghanaian shot-stopper with little chance as Egypt hit the front. Trezequet with the pin-point cross as Shikabala made no mistake.

    Their lead, though, would last all but three minutes as Edwin Gyasi leveled matters in the 64th minute. His shot taking a wicked deflection off Aly Gabr before whistling past Ekramy.

    Ghana pushed forward in search of the winner and had a chance to seal all three points in stoppage-time, but Daniel Amartey was unable to force the ball home from close range after Richmond Yiadom’s s rasping effort was fumbled by Ekramy.

    Ghana (0) 1 (Abdelrazek 61′)

    Egypt (0) 1 (Gyasi 64′)

    Ghana: R.Ofori, Afful, Angenyenu, Nuhu, Amartey, Wakaso, Gyasi, E.Ofori, Dwamena (Yiadom 74′), Donsah (Waris 50′), Ampomah (Twumasi 41′).

    Egypt: Ekramy, Gabr, Elmohamady, Rabiea (Samir 33′), Moursy, Abdelrazek (Elsaeyd 65′), Marei (Gamal 76′), Sobhi, Hafez, Elneny, Ibrahim.



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    2018 World Cup qualifiers: Group E players to watch – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


    Thomas Partey of Ghana (l) challenged by Sebastien Siani of Cameroon (l) during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Finals Afcon semifinal football match between Cameroon and Ghana at the Franceville Stadium in Gabon on 02 February 2017 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

    by
    Graeme Jackson

    Friday Nov 10, 2017. 15:00


    We look at the players to watch ahead of this weekend’s round of 2018 World Cup qualifiers.Today’s focus is on Group E: Egypt, Uganda, Ghana and Congo.

    Group E fixtures

    Sunday 12 November

    Congo v Uganda – Stade Alphonse Massemba-Debat, Brazzaville – 16h30 CAT

    Ghana v Egypt – Baba Yara Stadium, Kumasi – 17h30 CAT

    Congo – Dylan Saint-Louis

    Congo forward Dylan Saint-Louis looks a highly promising prospect for the Red Devils and made his debut last month in the loss away to Egypt. He’ll hope that this match, with less pressure and expectation, offers him a further chance to establish himself for the national team.

    Uganda – Emmanuel Okwi

    Emmanuel Okwi was the last goal scorer for Uganda in this qualifying group, netting the only goal in the famous victory over Egypt back in August. The Cranes need some attacking inspiration to get back to their best and will hope that the 24-year-old provides it in Brazzaville.

    Ghana – Thomas Partey

    Thomas Partey has been in magnificent form for both club and country in recent times, and the chance to impose himself upon an already-qualified Egypt is one he will not want to miss out on. Expect the Atletico Madrid man to further entrench himself under the guidance of coach James Kwesi Appiah.

    Egypt – Amr Gamal

    With Mohamed Salah rested, Egypt will field a changed attack in Kumasi on Sunday. The man who may benefit most is striker Amr Gamal, who has been in sharp form for South African champions Bidvest Wits and would love the chance to impress national team coach Hector Cuper.



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    2018 World Cup qualifiers: Group D players to watch – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


    Sadio Mane of Senegal Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

    by
    Graeme Jackson

    Thursday Nov 09, 2017. 12:30


    We look at the players to watch ahead of this weekend’s round of 2018 World Cup qualifiers. Today’s focus is on Group D: Senegal, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde and South Africa.

    Group D fixtures

    Friday 10 November

    South Africa v Senegal – Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane – 19h30 CAT

    Tuesday 14 November

    Burkina Faso v Cape Verde – Stade du 4 Aout, Ouagadougou – 21h30 CAT

    Senegal v South Africa – Stade Leopold Sedar Senghor, Dakar – 21h30 CAT

    Senegal – Sadio Mane

    Back from a hamstring injury sustained in the last international break, Sadio Mane is set to be Senegal’s spearhead for their two matches against South Africa. The Liverpool striker has enjoyed a fine – if somewhat disrupted – season to date and would love to cap off 2017 by securing World Cup qualification.

    Burkina Faso – Bertrand Traore

    A run of four goals in five games for Olympique Lyon just prior to the international break marks Bertrand Traore out as Burkina Faso’s in-form attacker. The former Chelsea man will look to inspire the Stallions to a home win over Cape Verde to end off their campaign in style.

    Cape Verde – Garry Rodrigues

    A superb brace of goals for Cape Verde in their 2-1 away win over South Africa back in September saw Garry Rodrigues’ stock take a major rise. The 26-year-old will need to keep up his strong form if he is to continue being linked with a transfer to the Premier League.

    South Africa – Siphiwe Tshabalala

    Famous for scoring the opening goal of the 2010 World Cup, Siphiwe Tshabalala has earned a deserved call-up for the first time in three years. ‘Shabba’ has been in brilliant form at club level and Bafana coach Stuart Baxter will hope the veteran can step back up to international level.



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    Group C decider pits the Elephants against Atlas Lions – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


    Eric Bailly of Ivory Coast clears ball from Dieudonne Bezua Mbokani of DR Congo during the 2017 African Cup of Nations Finals Afcon football match between Ivory Coast and DR Congo at the Oyem Stadium in Gabon on 20 January 2017 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

    by
    Graeme Jackson

    Wednesday Nov 08, 2017. 17:30


    The 2018 World Cup qualifying Group C decider sees Ivory Coast host Morocco at the Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny in Abidjan on Saturday evening at 19h30 CAT.

    This meeting of the Elephants and Atlas Lions promises to be one of the best qualifying matches on show this weekend, and AfricanFootball.com will have LIVE coverage of the clash.

    The odds are stacked in favour of Morocco, who hold a one-point lead at the top of the table and know that they need only avoid defeat in Abidjan to secure a fifth World Cup qualification, and their first since 1998.

    Ivory Coast, meanwhile, must win the match to leapfrog to the top of the standings. Should they do so, it would see them secure a ticket to their fourth successive World Cup.

    The match is given extra emotive value by the status of the teams’ coaches. Morocco’s Herve Renard will be facing the team he took to Africa Cup of Nations glory as recently as 2015, while Ivory Coast’s Marc Wilmots may very well see this game as one in which his job is one the line.

    The Belgian has earned little affection from Elephants fans since taking charge earlier this year, yet if he can secure a place in Russia 2018 it would certainly raise his stock in the West African country and secure his position for the forseeable future.

    Wilmots has called for unity from Ivorian fans ahead of the do-or-die clash, saying, “We will have a final in Abidjan, we must win against Morocco.”

    Renard has been more nuanced in his pre-match talk, but has taken confidence from beating Ivory Coast at the AFCON earlier this year, as well as holding the Elephants to a goalless draw in the teams’ first Group C meeting in Marrakesh a year ago.

    “We’re going to play our final game against Ivory Coast, and this game is going to be difficult,” the French tactician told beIN Sport

    “We defeated Ivory Coast during the Africa Cup of Nations. We’ll have to do the same again.”

    Renard added, “I think that we’ve made a lot of progress. But we have to be very efficient during those 90 minutes to seek this qualification that a whole nation is waiting for.”

    The teams have met in 18 previous matches, according to FIFA statistics, with Ivory Coast claiming six wins compared to five for Morocco. The Atlas Lions beat the Elephants 1-0 when the pair met in the group stage of this year’s AFCON.

    The other Group C match will see Gabon host Mali in Franceville on Saturday afternoon.



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    2018 World Cup qualifiers: Group C players to watch – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


    Wilfried Zaha of Ivory Coast challenged by Djene Ortega of Togo during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Finals match between Ivory Coast and Togo at the Oyem Stadium in Gabon on 16 January 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

    by
    Graeme Jackson

    Wednesday Nov 08, 2017. 13:30


    We look at the players to watch ahead of this weekend’s round of 2018 World Cup qualifiers. Today’s focus is on Group C: Nigeria, Zambia, Cameroon, Algeria.

    Group C fixtures

    Saturday 11 November

    Gabon v Mali – Stade de Franceville, Franceville – 16h30

    Ivory Coast v Morocco – Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny, Abidjan – 19h30

    Ivory Coast – Wilfried Zaha

    Crystal Palace have had a nightmare start to the 2017/18 season, but they still boast one of the Premier League’s most dangerous attackers in the shape of Wilfried Zaha. The 24-year-old has yet to really settle into the Elephants line-up, but if he can inspire them to the World Cup then he will have instant cult hero status amongst Ivorian supporters.

    Morocco – Medhi Benatia

    Morocco will need their defence to be at its best when they face Ivory Coast in Abidjan, and to that end they will look to captain and centre-back Medhi Benatia. The Juventus player has only recently returned to international football, but the chance to lead his national team to the World Cup will be a huge motivating factor.

    Gabon – Levy Madinda

    With Mario Lemina set to miss the match against Mali due to injury, Gabon coach Jose Antonio Camacho will look to Levy Madinda to set the tone in central midfield. The 25-year-old Asteras Tripoli player will hope to translate his good form at club level to the engine room of the Panthers.

    Mali – Adama Traore

    With Moussa Marega out with injury and doubts persisting over Moussa Doumbia’s ability to lead Mali’s attack, Adama Traore will look to use the match against Gabon as a chance to claim a regular starting berth for the Eagles heading into a fresh year of football in 2018.



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    2018 World Cup qualifiers: Group C permutations – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


    Evouna Malick of Gabon (r) challenged by Nicolas Nkoulou of Cameroon during the 2017 African Cup of Nations Finals Afcon football match between Cameroon and Gabon at the Libreville Stadium in Gabon on 22 January 2017 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

    by
    Graeme Jackson

    Wednesday Nov 08, 2017. 12:30


    We look at who needs what to secure qualification for the 2018 World Cup ahead of this weekend’s round of matches. Today’s focus is on Group C: Nigeria, Zambia, Cameroon, Algeria.

    Group C fixtures

    Saturday 11 November

    Gabon v Mali – Stade de Franceville, Franceville – 16h30

    Ivory Coast v Morocco – Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny, Abidjan – 19h30

    Group C standings

    Morocco: 9 points / +9 goal difference

    Ivory Coast: 8 / +4

    Gabon: 5 / -5

    Mali: 3 / -8

    Who needs what to qualify?

    This group’s qualifier for Russia 2018 hinges on the match between Ivory Coast and Morocco in Abidjan on Saturday evening. The Elephants must win the game to leapfrog to the top of the group and secure a fourth successive World Cup ticket, while the Atlas Lions need only avoid defeat to make a return to the global tournament for the first time since 1998.

    The other match between Gabon and Mali in Franceville is a battle to avoid the wooden spoon, with the Panthers holding a two-point lead over the Eagles heading into the clash.

    What’s likely to happen?

    This is one of the toughest games of the weekend to call, and it’s likely to be one of the most emotional, with Morocco coach Herve Renard hoping to get one over the team he guided to Africa Cup of Nations glory less than three years ago.

    The North Africans are unbeaten and have looked the class team of this group, but it may only take one mistake or moment of brilliance for the Elephants to win the match and assume top spot. Yet Renard has proven himself to be the tactical mastermind of African football and we reckon his team will do just enough to hold the hosts and secure a ticket to Russia 2018.



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    2018 World Cup qualifiers: Group C head-to-heads – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


    Franck Kessie of Ivory Coast challenged by Chancel Mbemba of DR Congo during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Finals match between Ivory Coast and DR Congo at the Oyem Stadium in Gabon on 20 January 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

    by
    Graeme Jackson

    Wednesday Nov 08, 2017. 11:30


    We look at the team head-to-heads leading into this weekend’s round of 2018 World Cup qualifiers. Today’s focus is on Group C: Nigeria, Zambia, Cameroon, Algeria.

    Group C fixtures

    Saturday 11 November

    Gabon v Mali – Stade de Franceville, Franceville – 16h30

    Ivory Coast v Morocco – Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny, Abidjan – 19h30

    Gabon v Mali

    Matches played: 11

    Gabon wins: 5

    Mali wins: 2

    Draws: 4

    Gabon goals: 16

    Mali goals: 10

    Last meeting: Mali 0-0 Gabon, 12 November 2016, Stade du 26 Mars, Bamako

    Gabon World Ranking: 92

    Mali World Ranking: 72

    Gabon World Cup appearances: 0

    Mali World Cup appearances: 0

    Ivory Coast v Morocco

    Matches played: 18

    Ivory Coast wins: 6

    Morocco wins: 5

    Draws: 7

    Ivory Coast goals: 24

    Morocco goals: 24

    Last meeting: Morocco 1-0 Ivory Coast, 24 January 2017, Stade d’Oyem, Oyem

    Ivory Coast World Ranking: 61

    Morocco World Ranking: 48

    Ivory Coast World Cup appearances: 3 (2006, 2010, 2014)

    Morocco World Cup appearances: 4 (1970, 1986, 1994, 1998)



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    2018 World Cup qualifiers: Group B players to watch – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


    Benjamin Moukandjo of Cameroon during the Afcon Quarter Final match between Senegal and Cameroon on the 28 January 2017 at Franceville , Gabon Pic Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

    by
    Austin Ditlhobolo

    Tuesday Nov 07, 2017. 12:30


    We look at the players to watch ahead of this weekend’s round of 2018 World Cup qualifiers. Today’s focus is on Group B: Nigeria, Zambia, Cameroon and Algeria.

    Group B fixtures

    Friday 10 November

    Algeria v Nigeria – Stade Mohamed Hamlaoui, Constantine – 21h30 CAT

    Saturday 11 November

    Zambia v Cameroon – Levy Mwanawasa Stadium, Ndola – 15h00 CAT

    Algeria – Riyad Mahrez

    A move to a more central attacking position at club level with Leicester City has seen a rejuvenation in Riyad Mahrez’s form, and new Algeria coach Rabah Madjer may well be weighing up whether to deploy the 26-year-old in a similar manner when his Fennec Foxes face up to Nigeria in Constantine on Friday night.

    Nigeria – Kelechi Iheanacho

    With Odion Ighalo out of contention due to injury, Kelechi Iheanacho may well have the chance to be a starting centre-forward in Nigeria’s clash in Constantine. The Leicester City man has proved his worth as an ‘impact’ player coming off the bench during the 2018 qualifying campaign, and will be eager to stake a claim as a regular starter under coach Gernot Rohr.

    Zambia – Lewis Macha

    A good turn of form for South African side Baroka FC and doubts over the fitness of Patson Daka and Emmanuel Banda could see Lewis Macha leading the line for Zambia. The 25-year-old will hope to impress coach Wedson Nyirenda and the Ndola public with a strong showing against heavyweights Cameroon.

    Cameroon – Benjamin Moukandjo

    The 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign has been a disaster for Cameroon and it may well see the end of coach Hugo Broos. The Belgian will look to his on-field lieutenant, skipper Banjamin Moukandjo, to inspire the Indomitable Lions to a victory in Ndola which would at least see them seal second place in the group.



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    2018 World Cup qualifiers: Group B permutations – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


    Iheanacho goes for goal vs Algeria

    by
    Graeme Jackson

    Tuesday Nov 07, 2017. 11:30


    We look at who needs what to secure qualification for the 2018 World Cup ahead of this weekend’s round of matches. Today’s focus is on Group B: Nigeria, Zambia, Cameroon and Algeria.

    Group B fixtures

    Friday 10 November

    Algeria v Nigeria – Stade Mohamed Hamlaoui, Constantine – 21h30 CAT

    Saturday 11 November

    Zambia v Cameroon – Levy Mwanawasa Stadium, Ndola – 15h00 CAT

    Who needs what to qualify?

    Well, Nigeria are already safely through to Russia 2018, having secured qualification in the last round of matches back in October. The Super Eagles will finish top of the group regardless of their result against Algeria (who will finish bottom even if they claim a first win).

    The other match is a battle for second place between Zambia and Cameroon, with the former holding a one-point lead over the latter ahead of their clash in Ndola on Saturday.

    What’s likely to happen?

    Nigeria would love to end off their campaign in style, but with a match against Argentina just four days later and several key players missing or doubtful due to injury (such as Victor Moses and Odion Ighalo), Gernot Rohr’s side may just take their foot off the pedal against an Algeria outfit looking to impress new coach Rabah Madjer.

    As for the game in Ndola, it could be the last in charge of the Indomitable Lions for coach Hugo Broos. He may have guided the team to Africa Cup of Nations glory in early 2017, but their World Cup qualification failure means he is unlikely to be offered an extension to his contract, which runs out in February next year.



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    2018 World Cup qualifiers: Group A players to watch – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


    Youssef Msakni of Tunisia awarded TOTAL man of the match during the Afcon Group B match between Algeria and Tunisia on the 19 January 2017 at Franceville Stadium, Gabon Pic Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

    by
    Graeme Jackson

    Monday Nov 06, 2017. 12:30


    We look at the players to watch ahead of this weekend’s round of 2018 World Cup qualifiers. Today’s focus is on Group A: Tunisia, DR Congo, Guinea and Libya.

    Group A fixtures

    Saturday 11 November

    Tunisia v Libya – Olympic Stadium, Rades – 19h30 CAT

    DR Congo v Guinea – Stade des Martyrs, Kinshasa – 19h30 CAT

    Tunisia – Youssef Msakni

    With a hat-trick in the last round of qualifiers, who else would we pick for Tunisia? Youssef Msakni’s treble against Guinea took his team to the verge of Russia 2018, and they now need only a point at home to Libya to guarantee qualification. With Msakni as part of their attack, the Carthage Eagles will be looking to book their ticket in emphatic style.

    Libya – Ahmed Azzaqah

    Ahmed Azzaqah is likely to play as Libya’s first-choice goalkeeper, having manned the posts in their 2-1 loss to DRC last time out. The Mediterranean Knights have shipped seven goals in two away games in this group and it will be up to Azzaqah and the defence in front of him to put up a more resilient showing against Tunisia.

    DR Congo – Ndombe Mubele

    With prolific striker Cedric Bakambu out of the clash against Guinea due to suspension, the burden of leading DRC’s attack will likely fall on Ndombe Mubele. The 23-year-old has been in decent form for Rennes in France and will hope to add to his tally of nine international goals, the latest of which arrived against Libya last month.

    Guinea – Francois Kamano

    Guinea have nothing to play for in their clash against DR Congo, but they will still look to Francois Kamano for inspiration. The 21-year-old Bordeaux striker has made a habit of scoring against big-names in Guinea colours (he has netted against Cameroon and Ivory Coast during his international career) and will hope to continue that trend against the Leopards.



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    2018 World Cup qualifiers: Group A permutations – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


    Thomas Partey of Ghana challenged by Remi Mulumba of DR Congo during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Finals Afcon Quarter Final football match between DR Congo and Ghana at the Oyem Stadium in Gabon on 29 January 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

    by
    Graeme Jackson

    Monday Nov 06, 2017. 11:30


    We look at who needs what to secure qualification for the 2018 World Cup ahead of this weekend’s round of matches. Today’s focus is on Group A: Tunisia, DR Congo, Guinea and Libya.

    Group A fixtures

    Saturday 11 November

    Tunisia v Libya – Olympic Stadium, Rades – 19h30 CAT

    DR Congo v Guinea – Stade des Martyrs, Kinshasa – 19h30 CAT

    Group A standings

    Tunisia: 13 points / +7 goal difference

    DRC: 10 / +5

    Guinea: 3 / -6

    Libya: 3 / -6

    Who needs what to qualify?


    It’s very straightforward for Tunisia, who need only avoid defeat at home to Libya to guarantee a place at Russia 2018.

    DR Congo could still leapfrog to the top of the log and qualify, but only if they defeat Guinea, Tunisia lose at home to Libya, and the Leopards end up with the better goal difference (since the teams would be level on points in this scenario).

    What’s likely to happen?

    It’s hard to see the Carthage Eagles, who are unbeaten in Group A, stumble at the final hurdle. Especially at home, and especially against bottom-of-the-log Libya, who have conceded seven goals in their two away games.

    If and when Tunisia confirm their place at Russia 2018, it will be their fifth qualification for the World Cup and a first since Germany 2006.



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    2018 World Cup qualifiers: Group A head-to-heads – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


    Wahbi Khazri of Tunisia evades tackle from Charles Kabore of Burkina Faso

    by
    Graeme Jackson

    Monday Nov 06, 2017. 09:30


    We look at the team head-to-heads leading into this weekend’s round of 2018 World Cup qualifiers. Today’s focus is on Group A: Tunisia, DR Congo, Guinea and Libya.

    Group A fixtures

    Saturday 11 November

    Tunisia v Libya – Olympic Stadium, Rades – 19h30 CAT

    DR Congo v Guinea – Stade des Martyrs, Kinshasa – 19h30 CAT

    Tunisia v Libya

    Matches played: 17

    Tunisia wins: 10

    Libya wins: 5

    Draws: 2

    Tunisia goals: 21

    Libya goals: 12

    Last meeting: Libya 0-1 Tunisia, 11 November 2016, Stade Omar Hammadi, Algiers

    Tunisia World Ranking: 28

    Libya World Ranking: 87

    Tunisia World Cup appearances: 4 (1978, 1998, 2002, 2006)

    Libya World Cup appearances: 0

    DR Congo v Guinea

    Matches played: 8

    DRC wins: 4

    Guinea wins: 3

    Draws: 1

    DRC goals: 14

    Guinea goals: 13

    Last meeting: Guinea 1-2 DR Congo, 13 November 2016, Stade du 28 Septembre, Conakry

    DRC World Ranking: 35

    Guinea World Ranking: 66

    DRC World Cup appearances: 1 (1974, as Zaire)

    Guinea World Cup appearances: 0



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    Ghana thrash India to top Group A – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup


    Ghana’s players celebrate after winning the FIFA Under-17 World Cup 2017 group A soccer match against Colombia at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, India, 06 October 2017. EPA/RAJAT GUPTA

    by
    Graeme Jackson

    Thursday Oct 12, 2017. 18:58


    Ghana have won Group A at the U-17 World Cup after thrashing hosts India 4-0 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on Thursday.

    The Black Starlets finished level on six points with both Colombia and USA (the former beat the latter 3-1 in a simultaneous match in Mumbai), but their handsome goal difference of +4 saw them top the log and claim automatic progression into the last 16.

    Ghana were on the front foot from early on, but they struggled to create clear-cut chances and found Indian goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem a tough man to beat.

    However, the Black Starlets remained patient and were finally rewarded a couple of minutes before the half-time break, with skipper Eric Ayiah providing a fine finish to an incisive passing movement.

    It took just seven minutes of the second half for Ghana to double their advantage and again it was a case of Ayiah finishing off a good team move, with the West Africans able to slice open the hosts’ defence.

    The match looked set to end at 2-0, with Ghana seemingly happy to take a two-goal win, but news that Colombia were leading the other group match sparked the Black Starlets back to life.

    They claimed two late goals through Mohammed Kudus and Emmanuel Toku in the 86th and 87th minutes respectively – the additional strikes saw Ghana rise clear of Colombia and the USA on goal difference.

    Ghana will face a third-placed team from either Group C or D in their last 16 clash in Navi Mumbai on October 18.

    Ghana (1) 2 (Aiyah 43’ 52’, Kudus 86’, Toku 87’)

    India 0

    Ghana: I. Danlad, N. Yakubu, B. Terry Owusu, G. Mensah, R. Alhassan, I. Gyamfi, G. Leveh, S. Ibrahim (E. Toku 56’), I. Sulley, E. Arko-Mensah (M. Kudus 76’), E. Ayiah (R. Danso 82’)



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    Niger eye Brazil scalp in Group D clash – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup


    Spanish defender Jaume Mateu (L) duels for the ball against Niger’s midfielder Karim Tinni (R) during the FIFA Under-17 World Cup 2017 group D soccer match between Spain and Niger at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi, India, 10 October 2017. EPA/PRAKASH ELAMAKKARA

    by
    Austin Ditlhobolo

    Thursday Oct 12, 2017. 16:00


    Niger will face off with Brazil in their third encounter at the 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup on Friday.

    Kick-off is at 16h30 CAT.

    The Group D match will be played at the Fatorda Stadium in the Indian city of Margao.

    Niger were thumped 4-0 by Spain in their last group match which was played in Kochi, India on Tuesday.

    The defeat left the Junior Menas placed third on the Group D table with three points from two games. They are three points behind the leaders Brazil with one game left.

    Karim Tinni Sanda, the Niger captain, will look to inspire the Junior Menas to victory over Brazil.

    Meanwhile, Brazil secured a 2-0 win over North Korea in their last group match which was played in Kochi on Tuesday.

    As a result, the Junior Verde-Amarela are placed at the top of the Group D standings with six points from two games. They have already qualified for the knockout stages.

    Paulinho has scored in Brazil’s two games in this competition and he will look to help his side beat Niger.

    Referee Bobby Madden, who hails from Scotland, will officiate the match between Niger and Brazil.

    Niger will progress into the knockout stages if they win the game.



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    Ghana face must-win clash in final group encounter


    Ghana’s Sadiq Ibrahim (R) gestures during the FIFA Under-17 World Cup 2017 group A soccer match between Colombia and Ghana at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, India, 06 October 2017. EPA/RAJAT GUPTA

    by
    Graeme Jackson

    Wednesday Oct 11, 2017. 09:30


    Ghana face a must-win situation in their final Group A match against India at the 2017 U-17 World Cup.

    The Black Starlets will tackle the host team at the Jawaharlal Stadium in New Delhi on Thursday, kick-off at 16h30 CAT.

    The West Africans opened their campaign with a 1-0 win over Colombia last weekend, but on Monday they slumped to a defeat at the hands of USA, putting their hopes of advancing into the next round at risk.

    Ghana come into this game placed third on the Group A log behind America (six points) and level on three points with second-placed Colombia. India, who have lost both matches thus far, are placed last.

    The good news for Paa Kwesi Fabin’s side is that a win over the hosts will almost certainly put them through to the next round – either they will move into the top two (who are guaranteed progression) or surely be ranked as one of the four best third-place finishers from the six groups.

    Fabin was annoyed by his team’s lack of cutting edge in the loss to USA and hopes they will put it right when they face India on Thursday.

    “We played well today and had so many chances but we didn’t take them and we got punished,” the Ghana boss lamented.

    “In association football when you don’t take your chance this is what happens. I hope we can learn from this game. We’ll keep working on our goal scoring and hopefully against India we’ll be able to exhibit it on the field.”

    Ghana will be without defender Abdul Razak Yussif due to the head injury he suffered in the game against USA on Monday



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    Pinnick: Nigeria’s Super Eagles won Group of Death – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


    Zunis Stopilla of Zambia challenges Obi Mikel of Nigeria during the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier football match between Nigeria and Zambia on 07 October 2017 at Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo, Nigeria ©Kabiru Abubakar/BackpagePix

    by
    Austin Ditlhobolo

    Monday Oct 09, 2017. 14:00


    The Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) leaders were ecstatic after the Super Eagles’ clinched qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals on Saturday.

    The Super Eagles edged out Zambia 1-0 thanks to Alex Iwobi’s late goal in a Group B match at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo, Nigeria.

    As a result, the NFF president Amaju Pinnick and NFF general secretary Dr Mohammed Sanusi were in buoyant mood as they joined the players in celebration.

    “I am short of words. Let me just say that I am very, very happy,” Pinnick told the NFF’s official website.

    “This is the sixth time Nigeria is qualifying for the World Cup.

    “But this one is very sweet because many referred to our section as a ‘Group of Death’,” he added.

    “We have survived. We give glory to God.”

    An equally joyous Sanusi said: “We are excited and as this Board has continued to promise, it is not just about qualification.

    “We will ensure the best preparation for the team to set a new record of performance for Nigeria at the FIFA World Cup when they go to Russia next year,” he added.

    Group B winners Nigeria will take on Algeria away in their last match on 6 November 2017.



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    Leopards ensure Group A goes to the final round – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


    by
    Graeme Jackson

    Saturday Oct 07, 2017. 21:17


    DR Congo defeated Libya 2-1 at the Stade Mustapha Ben Jannet in Monastir on Saturday evening to ensure their 2018 World Cup qualifying pool will not be decided until the final round.

    The victory sees the Leopards remain three points behind Group A leaders Tunisia, who beat Guinea in Conakry in a simultaneous match to stay on course to qualify for Russia 2018.

    In the final round next month, DRC will need to beat Guinea and hope that Tunisia lose at home to Libya in order to leapfrog into first place and advance into the tournament finals.

    After a goalless first half in Monastir, DRC claimed the lead in the 50th minute through Cedric Bakambu, who beat goalkeeper Ahmed Azzaqa to make it 1-0.

    However, the Mediterranean Knights struck back in the 69th minute to make it 1-1, with Al Motasim Al Musrati’s goal giving Tunisia hope that they could seal qualification with a game to spare.

    However, the Leopards reclaimed the lead and ensured the group will only be decided in the final round when Ndombe Mubele struck home in the 75th minute to seal a 2-1 away win.

    Libya (0) 1 (Al Musrati 69’)

    DR Congo (0) 2 (Bakambu 50’, Mubele 75’)

    Libya: A. Azzaqa, A. Alzawi (M. Ghanudi 74’), M. Abboud, B. Ahmed, T. Al Gamal, A. Almaghassi, M. Ayad, H. Elhouni, M. Ellafi, A. Mohamed, M. Sabbou (M. Madeen 55’ [S. Shafshuf 87’])

    DRC: L. Matampi, C. Bakambu (C. Luyindama 83’), J. Bokata (J. Kabanga 64’), D. Mpeko, N. Kebano (J. Bolingi 72’), L. Mabidi, C. Mbemba, W. Moke, N. Mubele, G. Ngonda, M. Tisserand



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    Cameroon beat Algeria in Group B dead-rubber – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


    Cameroon forward Clinton N’jie

    by
    Bertin Basson

    Saturday Oct 07, 2017. 20:49


    Algeria suffered a fourth defeat in succession as Cameroon claimed all three points in a 2018 FIFA World Cup (CAF) qualifier at the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaoundé in on Saturday, for their maiden win of the campaign.

    Clinton Njié and Franck Pangop on target for the reigning African champions, in a tussle that was purely a formality with both teams playing for pride and nothing else.

    It has been a dire qualifying campaign for two of Africa’s big guns and the result painted another gloomy picture for the Fennec Foxes, who boast a mere point from five matches.

    El Arabi Soudani had a day to forget for the visitors, with the North African’s without Leicester City duo Islam Slimani and Riyad Mahrez after they were axed from the squad.

    Njié – back for Cameroon – had a more memorable outing and opened the scoring after 25 minutes, pouncing on a defensive error to give the hosts the lead.

    Pangop made sure of all three points on the cusp of full-time, as he found the back of the net a minute after emerging off the bench in place of French-based Njié.

    In Uyo, Nigeria confirmed their place at next year’s showpiece in Russia following a 1-0 win over Zambia. Arsenal forward Alex Iwobi with the only goal of the encounter.

    Cameroon (1) 2 (Njié 25′ Pangop 88′)

    Algeria (0) 0

    Cameroon: Ondoa; Zambo Anguissa, Teikeu, Ngadeu Ngadjui, Siani, Olinga (Ngamaleu 82′), Fai, Leuko, Bassogog (Mandjecl 73′), Aboubakar, Njie (Pangop 87′)

    Algeria: Mbolhi; Mandi, Cadamuro, Taider (Bennacer 60′), Hanni (Ferhat 71′), Feghouli (Ghezzal 75′), Fares, Benguit, Bensebaini, Soudani, Belfodil



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    2018 WCQ – AfricanFootball looks at the Group B head-to-heads – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


    John Obi MIKEL of Nigeria during the Russia 2018 World Cup Qualifier match between Nigeria vs Algeria on November, 12th 2016 at Godswill Akpabio Stadium
    ©Kabiru Abubakar//Backpagepix

    by
    Graeme Jackson

    Friday Oct 06, 2017. 16:00


    AfricanFootball takes a closer look at the team head-to-heads leading into this weekend’s round of 2018 World Cup qualifiers. Today’s focus is on Group B: Nigeria, Zambia, Cameroon and Algeria.

    Group B fixtures

    Saturday 7 October

    Nigeria v Zambia – Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo – 18h00 CAT

    Cameroon v Algeria – Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo, Yaounde – 18h00 CAT

    Nigeria v Zambia

    Matches played: 18

    Nigeria wins: 7

    Zambia wins: 5

    Draws: 6

    Nigeria goals: 18

    Zambia goals: 21

    Last meeting: Zambia 1-2 Nigeria, 9 October 2016, Levy Mwanawasa Stadium

    Nigeria World Ranking: 44

    Zambia World Ranking: 78

    Nigeria World Cup appearances: 5 (1994, 1998, 2002, 2010, 2014)

    Zambia World Cup appearances: 0

    Cameroon v Algeria

    Matches played: 8

    Cameroon wins: 1

    Algeria wins: 3

    Draws: 4

    Cameroon goals: 10

    Algeria goals: 9

    Last meeting: Algeria 1-1 Cameroon, 9 October 2016, Stade Mustapha Tchaker

    Cameroon World Ranking: 62

    Algeria World Ranking: 45

    Cameroon World Cup appearances: 7 (1982, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2010, 2014)

    Algeria World Cup appearances: 4 (1982, 1986, 2010, 2014)



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    2018 WCQ – AfricanFootball looks at the Group A head-to-heads – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


    Sliti Naim of Tunisia (number 23) celebrates goal during the 2017 African Cup of Nations Finals Afcon football match between Algeria and Tunisia at the Franceville Stadium in Gabon on 19 January 2017 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

    by
    Graeme Jackson

    Thursday Oct 05, 2017. 13:00


    AfricanFootball takes a closer look at the team head-to-heads leading into this weekend’s round of 2018 World Cup qualifiers. Today’s focus is on Group A: Tunisia, DR Congo, Guinea and Libya.

    Group A fixtures

    Saturday 7 October

    Guinea v Tunisia – Stade du 28 Septembre, Conakry – 19h00 CAT

    Libya v DR Congo – Stade Mustapha Ben Jannet, Monastir – 19h00 CAT

    Guinea v Tunisia

    Matches played: 20

    Guinea wins: 7

    Tunisia wins: 8

    Draws: 5

    Guinea goals: 20

    Tunisia goals: 29

    Last meeting: Tunisia 2-0 Guinea, 9 October 2016, Stade Mustapha Ben Jannet

    Guinea World Ranking: 65

    Tunisia World Ranking: 31

    Guinea World Cup appearances: 0

    Tunisia World Cup appearances: 4 (1978, 1998, 2002, 2006)

    Libya v DRC

    Matches played: 8

    Libya wins: 2

    DRC wins: 2

    Draws: 4

    Libya goals: 8

    DRC goals: 11

    Last meeting: DRC 4-0 Libya, 8 October 2016, Stade des Martyrs

    Libya World Ranking: 81

    DRC World Ranking: 42

    Libya World Cup appearances: 0

    DRC World Cup appearances: 1 (1974, as Zaire)



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    2018 WCQ – AfricanFootball looks at the permutations for Group D – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


    Henri Saivet of Senegal (c) celebrates goal during the 2017 African Cup of Nations Finals Afcon football match between Senegal and Zimbabwe at the Franceville Stadium in Gabon on 19 January 2017 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

    by
    Graeme Jackson

    Thursday Oct 05, 2017. 13:00


    AfricanFootball takes a closer look at who needs what to secure qualification for the 2018 World Cup ahead of this weekend’s round of matches. Today we focus on Group D: Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Senegal and South Africa.

    Where and when are the games?

    Saturday 7 October

    South Africa v Burkina Faso – FNB Stadium, Johannesburg – 15h00 CAT

    Cape Verde v Senegal – Estadio Nacional de Cabo Verde, Praia – 19h30 CAT

    Who needs what to qualify?

    Given that FIFA annulled South Africa’s 2-1 win over Senegal from last year and this group is therefore effectively one result short of where it should be, nobody can secure qualification this weekend.

    However, a win for group leaders Burkina Faso over hosts South Africa would not only take the Stallions to within touching distance of Russia 2018, it would mathematically eliminate Bafana Bafana.

    What’s likely to happen?

    Hard to tell. South Africa can surely only improve from their dreadful performances last month when they were beaten in back-to-back games by Cape Verde, but Burkina Faso are unbeaten thus far and determined to go to the World Cup for the first time in their history – perhaps a draw would be the thinking man’s pick for the game in Johannesburg.

    As for the Cape Verde v Senegal game in Praia, we’d go with the Teranga Lions to come away with all three points. They’ve had new life breathed into their campaign by both the decision to have the game against Bafana replayed and the combination of group results in September.

    If Senegal can head to November knowing that back-to-back wins over an eliminated South Africa will secure a place in Russia 2018, then that will be the perfect scenario for coach Aliou Cisse – a veteran of the country’s famous World Cup debut in 2002.



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    2018 WCQ – AfricanFootball looks at the Group A players to watch – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


    Mathieu Dossevi of Togo battles for the ball with Chancel Mbemba of DR Congo during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Finals football match between Togo and DR Congo at the Port Gentil Stadium in Gabon on 24 January 2017 ©Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

    by
    Phumzile Ngcatshe

    Thursday Oct 05, 2017. 11:00


    AfricanFootball takes a closer look at the players to watch ahead of this weekend’s round of 2018 World Cup qualifiers. Today’s focus is on Group A: Tunisia, DR Congo, Guinea and Libya.

    Group A fixtures

    Saturday 7 October

    Guinea v Tunisia – Stade du 28 Septembre, Conakry – 19h00 CAT

    Libya v DR Congo – Stade Mustapha Ben Jannet, Monastir – 19h00 CAT

    Tunisia – Wahbi Khazri

    With Tunisia looking to claim a potentially decisive away win over Guinea on Saturday evening, they will need their attacking players to take advantage of every opportunity which comes their way. Playmaker Wahbi Khazri will be tasked with slicing open the hosts’ defence and hopefully adding to the one goal he has scored (a penalty against Libya just under a year ago) in this group thus far.

    DR Congo – Chancel Mbemba

    Chancel Mbemba scored for DR Congo in their 2-2 draw at home to Tunisia last month but also suffered an injury which put him out of contention for a couple of weeks at Premier League club Newcastle United. The Leopards will hope their versatile 23-year-old is fit and firing for their trip to Monastir in Tunisia, where they will come up against an already-eliminated Libya in a must-win fixture.

    Guinea – Alkhaly Bangoura

    The scorer of Guinea’s winning goal in the 3-2 triumph over Libya in the last international window, Alkhaly Bangoura is making a name for himself with the Syli Nationale. The 21-year-old forward plays his club football with Tunisian giants Etoile du Sahel and will feel quite comfortable taking on the Carthage Eagles. Guinea will hope Bangoura can reproduce the form which made him a hero in their last match in Conakry.

    Libya – Hamdou Elhouni

    The scorer of Libya’s goal in the 1-0 win over Guinea last month, Hamdou Elhouni will be hoping to continue his strong form for the Mediterranean Knights. Libya are out of the running to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, but they can certainly affect DR Congo’s chances by winning in Monastir and doing their fellow North Africans Tunisia a major favour.



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    2018 WCQ – AfricanFootball looks at the Group E head-to-heads – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


    epa06186462 Egypt’s Abdallah El-Said (R) in action during the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying soccer match between Egypt and Uganda, in Alexandria, Egypt, 05 September 2017. EPA/MOHAMED HOSSAM

    by
    Graeme Jackson

    Wednesday Oct 04, 2017. 17:30


    AfricanFootball takes a closer look at the team head-to-heads leading into this weekend’s round of 2018 World Cup qualifiers. Today’s focus is on Group E: Egypt, Uganda, Ghana and Congo.

    Group E fixtures

    Saturday 7 October

    Uganda v Ghana – Mandela National Stadium, Kampala – 15h00 CAT

    Sunday 8 October

    Egypt v Congo – Borg El Arab Stadium, Alexandria – 19h00 CAT

    Uganda v Ghana

    Matches played: 11

    Uganda wins: 3

    Ghana wins: 4

    Draws: 4

    Uganda goals: 8

    Ghana goals: 11

    Last meeting: Ghana 0-0 Uganda, 7 October 2016, Tamale Stadium

    Uganda World Ranking: 71

    Ghana World Ranking: 52

    Uganda World Cup appearances: 0

    Ghana World Cup appearances: 3 (2006, 2010, 2014)

    Egypt v Congo

    Matches played: 7

    Egypt wins: 6

    Congo wins: 1

    Draws: 0

    Egypt goals: 15

    Congo goals: 4

    Last meeting: Congo 1-2 Egypt, 9 October 2016, Stade Municipal de Kintele

    Egypt World Ranking: 30

    Congo World Ranking: 95

    Egypt World Cup appearances: 2 (1934, 1990)

    Congo World Cup appearances: 0



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    2018 WCQ – AfricanFootball looks at the Group D players to watch – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


    West Ham striker Diafra Sakho

    by
    Graeme Jackson

    Wednesday Oct 04, 2017. 11:00


    AfricanFootball takes a closer look at the players to watch ahead of this weekend’s round of 2018 World Cup qualifiers. Today’s focus is on Group D: Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Senegal and South Africa.

    Group D fixtures

    Saturday 7 October

    South Africa v Burkina Faso – FNB Stadium, Johannesburg – 15h00 CAT

    Cape Verde v Senegal – Estadio Nacional de Cabo Verde, Praia – 19h30 CAT

    Burkina Faso – Bertrand Traore

    Olympique Lyon striker Bertrand Traore looks set to be Burkina Faso’s spearhead for their clash away to South Africa on Saturday. The 22-year-old has taken his game to a new level since joining his current French side and notably scored for the Stallions in their 2-2 draw at home to Senegal last month. If Traore can find the net again this weekend, it may well put the Burkinabe on the path to their first World Cup appearance.

    Cape Verde – Garry Rodrigues

    Garry Rodrigues’ two goals for Cape Verde in their stunning win over South Africa in Durban last month, as well as his form for Turkish giants Galatasaray, has seen the forward linked with a move to Premier League side Newcastle United. If he is to keep such speculation alive and well, he will need to once again strut his stuff for the Blue Sharks when they face up to Senegal in Praia.

    Senegal – Diafra Sakho

    Diafra Sakho has seen his career almost go off the rails in recent times, but this past weekend he stole the headlines in the Premier League by scoring a crucial winner for West Ham United in their clash with Swansea City – effectively saving manager Slaven Bilic’s job. He’ll have another chance to bask in the limelight when Senegal face Cape Verde in a crunch clash in Praia on Saturday, having been recalled to the Teranga Lions squad for the first time in two years.

    South Africa – Phakamani Mahlambi

    After their back-to-back losses to Cape Verde last month, South Africa are in desperate need of inspiration to keep their slim qualifying hopes alive. In young forward Phakamani Mahlambi they may have the ingenuity and pace their attack has been crying out for. The 20-year-old has recently joined Egyptian giants Al Ahly and will be keen to prove himself for the national team.



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    2018 WCQ – AfricanFootball looks at the Group D head-to-heads – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


    Prejuce Nakoulma of Burkina Faso (r) .challenged by Bruno Ecuele Manga of Gabon during the 2017 African Cup of Nations Finals Afcon football match between Gabon and Burkina Faso at the Libreville Stadium in Gabon on 18 January 2017 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

    by
    Graeme Jackson

    Tuesday Oct 03, 2017. 17:00


    AfricanFootball takes a closer look at the team head-to-heads leading into this weekend’s round of 2018 World Cup qualifiers. Today’s focus is on Group D: Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Senegal and South Africa.

    Group D fixtures

    Saturday 7 October

    South Africa v Burkina Faso – FNB Stadium, Johannesburg – 15h00 CAT

    Cape Verde v Senegal – Estadio Nacional de Cabo Verde, Praia – 19h30 CAT

    South Africa v Burkina Faso

    Matches played: 8

    SA wins: 4

    Burkina Faso wins: 1

    Draws: 3

    SA goals: 11

    Burkina Faso goals: 5

    Last meeting: Burkina Faso 1-1 South Africa, 8 October 2016, Stade du 4 Aout

    SA World Ranking: 80

    Burkina Faso World Ranking: 49

    SA World Cup appearances: 3 (1998, 2002, 2010)

    Burkina Faso World Cup appearances: 0

    Cape Verde v Senegal

    Matches played: 13

    Cape Verde wins: 2

    Senegal wins: 9

    Draws: 2

    Cape Verde goals: 7

    Senegal goals: 18

    Last meeting: Senegal 2-0 Cape Verde, 8 October 2016, Stade Leopold Sedar Senghor

    Cape Verde World Ranking: 67

    Senegal World Ranking: 33

    Cape Verde World Cup appearances: 0

    Senegal World Cup appearances: 1 (2002)



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