Morocco-s-youssef-en-nesyri-celebrates-a-goal

Senegal became the first African side to reach the last-16 of the ongoing World Cup in Qatar, with the continent’s four other representatives still hopeful of joining them.

Goals from Ismaila Sarr and Kalidou Koulibaly gave Aliou Cisse’s men a 2-1 victory over Ecaudor to finish second in Group A behind leaders Netherlands. They will take on England in the last-16. 

Other African countries; Morocco and Ghana just have to avoid defeat to progress, while Tunisia and Cameroon need to win and then hope other results go their way.

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If two sides finish level on points, final group standings will be decided by goal difference, then goals scored before head-to-head results and fair play records come in.

Tunisia

Tunisia sit bottom of Group D after a goalless draw with Denmark followed with a 1-0 defeat by Australia.

The North Africans have to beat defending champions France, who are already assured of a last-16 place, and must score their first goal in Qatar to have any chance of doing so.

Even then, that will not be enough if Australia beat Denmark.

Tunisia will progress on goal difference if they win and Australia-Denmark ends in a draw, but a win for Denmark would see it come down to goal difference, goals scored or even, possibly, the fair play record.

Morocco

Sunday’s stunning 2-0 victory over Belgium leaves Morocco in a strong position in Group F, with four points from two games.

A draw in their final match against Canada on Thursday will be enough to reach the knock-out stages for just the second time, and first since topping their group in 1986.

Morocco could win the group if they win and Belgium beat Croatia in the other match – or if the Atlas Lions and Croatia are both victorious and the North Africans better Croatia’s margin of victory by two goals.

Cameroon

The Indomitable Lions seemed to be crashing out early when trailing Serbia 3-1 with half an hour left in their second group game, but a Vincent Aboubakar-inspired comeback saw the Central Africans draw 3-3 and live to fight another day.

Similar to Tunisia, Cameroon need a victory against one of the heavyweights of world football – in this instance, five-time World Cup winners Brazil themselves – in their final game on Friday.

The Brazilians are already through to the last 16 but for Cameroon, like the North Africans, a win may not be enough depending on the result of the Serbia-Switzerland game.

Ghana 

Ghana held their nerve to beat South Korea 3-2 on Monday and secure a vital three points after a defeat by the same scoreline to Portugal in their opener.

Monday’s win keeps the Black Stars’ fate in their own hands, and while a draw could be enough if Portugal beat South Korea, the West Africans know that victory over Uruguay in their final match on Friday will see them through.

The prospect of knocking out Uruguay at the same time adds further spice to a tie already smothered in it, since the game is a rematch of the 2010 quarter-final, which saw Ghana narrowly miss out on becoming the first African side to reach the semi-finals.

In an unforgettable clash, Uruguay’s Luis Suarez was sent off deep into extra-time for a handball on the goalline to stop a certain goal – prior to Asamoah Gyan missing the resulting penalty, and the South Americans going on to win via a shoot-out.

Suarez could again feature as one of three survivors from the Uruguay starting XI from that match in Johannesburg, while Andre Ayew is the only member of Ghana’s 2010 squad in Qatar – even if he did not feature in the last eight match in South Africa.

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