Five World Cup 2022 African teams will be hoping to make an impact in Qatar and we’re taking a look at how far they could go.
Cameroon became the first side from this continent to reach the quarter-finals in 1990, a feat repeated by Senegal in 2002 and Ghana in 2010.
Nigeria and Algeria made the last 16 in 2014, but after struggling in Russia four years ago, the challenge now is to get back in the knockout rounds.
Here we look at the AFCON qualifiers in group order and their World Cup 2022 odds to lift the trophy:
Senegal @ 80/1
Coach: Aliou Cisse
World Cup best: Quarter-finals 2002
In record scorer Sadio Mane, the African champions have genuine world-class quality, but a knee injury picked up playing for Bayern Munich has put his participation in doubt. Chelsea pair Edouard Mendy and Kalidou Koulibaly are also key performers, though. Cisse’s side qualified by defeating Egypt on penalties, a repeat result of the Africa Cup of Nations final. They agonisingly missed out on a second-round spot in 2018 due to accumulating more yellow cards than Japan.
Senegal are 19/20 to qualify from Group A, which also features Netherlands, Ecuador and hosts Qatar. They are 15/4 to get as far as the quarter-finals, 10/1 to reach the semis and 40/1 for a place in the final.
Star player: With Mane doubtful, it may be up to Mendy to see the Lions of Teranga through. The 30-year-old was named the tournament’s best goalkeeper at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations and could look to put himself in the shop window in Qatar after being ousted as Chelsea’s number one by Kepa Arrizabalaga until he picked up a knock. Stamford Bridge teammate Koulibaly will be a calming influence at the back.
Tunisia @ 400/1
Coach: Jalel Kadri
World Cup best: First round 1978, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2018
The Eagles of Carthage qualified by defeating Mali in a play-off. Coach Kadri has only been in charge since March after being promoted from an assistant role following the sacking of Mondher Kebaier. The 2004 African champions are tactically cautious and have never made it beyond the group stage. A 5-1 warm-up thrashing by Brazil emphasised the enormity of their task, but they are usually much tougher to break down.
Tunisia are 7/2 to qualify from Group D, which also features defending champions France, Denmark and Australia. They are 12/1 to get as far as the quarter-finals, 50/1 to reach the semis and 200/1 for a place in the final.
Star player: Wahbi Khazri has proven himself a fine forward in France’s top flight, impressing for Bordeaux, Rennes and St Etienne before joining Montpellier last summer. A goal drought since August for his new club is a concern, but strikes against Belgium and Panama four years ago showed he is the man for the big occasion.
Morocco @ 250/1
Coach: Walid Regragui
World Cup best: Second round 1986
The Atlas Lions fired Vahid Halilhodzic a matter of months before the big kick-off. The Bosnian fell out with star man Hakim Ziyech, who was overlooked for the duration of qualifying. Morocco have won only two of 16 previous World Cup games and Regragui is tasked with injecting positive energy into a side with a history of flattering to deceive, but they do have some classy players on paper.
Morocco are 5/2 to qualify from Group F, which also features Belgium, Croatia and Canada. They are 7/1 to get as far as the quarter-finals, 18/1 to reach the semis and 100/1 for a place in the final.
Star player: Ziyech, nicknamed The Wizard during a superb stint with Ajax, hasn’t quite justified the price tag of £33million Chelsea paid out for him a couple of years ago but limited game time at club level is unlikely to affect such a confident character. PSG wing-back Achraf Hakimi and Sevilla striker Youssef En-Nesyri are others to watch out for.
Cameroon @ 250/1
Coach: Rigobert Song
World Cup best: Quarter-finals 1990
The Indomitable Lions are Africa’s most frequent World Cup visitors but have not won a match at the finals for 20 years. Ex-defender Song replaced Portuguese coach Toni Conceicao in February after his former team-mate Samuel Eto’o became president of the Cameroonian Football Federation. Song’s squad is in transition, but he can call on a couple of key figures who are enjoying success at club level this term.
Cameroon are 5/2 to qualify from Group G, which also features outright favourites Brazil, Switzerland and Serbia. They are 8/1 to get as far as the quarter-finals, 28/1 to reach the semis and 100/1 for a place in the final.
Star player: Vincent Aboubakar was a prolific front man for Porto and Besiktas before joining Al Nassr in nearby Saudi Arabia. His international pedigree is also impressive, scoring the winning goal in the final of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations and being the top goalscorer in the 2021 edition. Napoli midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Bayern Munich forward Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting are other familiar names in fine form this season.
Ghana at 250/1
Coach: Otto Addo
World Cup best: Quarter-finals 2010
The Black Stars bounced back from the humiliation of finishing bottom of their Africa Cup of Nations group by upsetting Nigeria on away goals in a qualifying play-off. Interim coach Addo has enjoyed just one win in 90 minutes since being appointed but has a hungry, young crop of players. The Black Stars are the lowest-ranked team in the tournament but are fired up to make a mockery of that 61st rating and have been handed a decent draw.
Ghana are 12/5 to qualify from Group H, which also features Portugal, Uruguay and South Korea. They are 10/1 to get as far as the quarter-finals, 40/1 to reach the semis and 100/1 for a place in the final.
Star player: Thomas Partey has played a big part in Arsenal powering five points clear in the Premier League this season and the £45million capture from Atletico Madrid brings discipline and determination to Ghana’s engine room. Persuading Athletic Bilbao midfielder Inaki Williams to switch allegiance from Spain could also prove a major coup.
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