Africa has always been a powerhouse of football, with some of the world’s most passionate and talented players. However, 2018 was not as successful for African nations as many had hoped. Some high-profile upsets knocked several teams out early, leaving their fans disappointed.
However, Qatar 2022 is proving to be a different story altogether. Africa’s record-breaking performance so far is testimony to that fact.
In particular, four teams (Nigeria, Senegal, Cameroon, and Tunisia) have already made it out of their group stages – a feat that has never been achieved by an African team before. This is a testament to Africa’s resurgence on the global stage and its growing competitiveness in world football.
For the first time since Algeria and Nigeria in 2014, two teams from the African continent have advanced to the knockout round of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. This is a remarkable turnaround for African football, which suffered disappointment in 2018 when no team managed to make it out of the group stage.
With 24 points from the group stage – more than any other continent – it is clear that this generation of African players is determined to make up for past mistakes and show the world what they can do.
Led by captain and all-time top scorer Hakim Ziyech, Morocco was the surprise package of Group F at the FIFA World cup. Despite being drawn into a group with world heavyweights Belgium and Canada, they topped the group undefeated – beating both sides in impressive style.
However, as every football fan knows, Brazil is not unbeatable, and an African team recently beat them for the first time with a 1-0 defeat against Cameroon. This was Cameroon’s final match at this year’s tournament, and they went out on a high note with an impressive victory over one of the best teams in world football.
Following Tuesday’s match between Morocco and Spain will be a historic occasion for both teams – it will be the first time either side has progressed to the knockout stage in 36 years.
The Arab world is renowned for its passionate support of football. And nowhere is this more evident than in the masses of fans who turn up to cheer on their national team at the World Cup.
This year, there is only one remaining Arab country left in the competition – Tunisia.
“We hope to fly the flag of African football high,” said Morocco coach Walid Regragui. “Often we’ve been described as being sub-par not as good as elsewhere.
“But I think at this World Cup we are showing we can give any other team a run for their money, whether they be European teams or South American teams. “I hope in the future this means we’ll be seeing more African teams do well at the World Cup and why not an African Champion?”
The 2026 World Cup will be a milestone for African football, with 48 teams competing in the tournament for the first time. This represents a significant increase from the current format of 32 teams, and it is clear that Africa is now being recognized as an important market for world football.
Africa has been waiting for a long time to see one of its teams make it to the semi-finals of the World Cup.
Senegal has long been one of the most exciting African football nations, and they came close to making an impression on the world stage at the 2018 World Cup. They topped their group in qualifying, including a win over South Africa, before losing out to Japan due to having more yellow cards than their opponents.
Kalidou Koulibaly’s stunning volley against Ecuador inspired Senegal to believe they could upset the odds and win the World Cup.
“We saw what Morocco did. They had a beautiful win over Belgium,” said Senegal Coach Aliou Cisse.
“Yes, it can be a source of inspiration for us.”
Although the teams eliminated in the group stage still left their impact on the competition, their efforts may have been improved. Tunisia defeated the French champions by a score of 1-0, and Cameroon overcame an eight-match World Cup losing record with a heroic comeback to tie Serbia 3-3 before defeating five-time champions Brazil.
As the World Cup progresses, it is becoming increasingly clear that African players are making a significant impact in European club football. Even without Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, European teams have dominated, with each of the past four World Cups being won by a European side.
In addition, non-European and South American teams have yet to reach the final. This demonstrates how vital African players are to top European clubs and highlights their importance to international sides.
“You have to be strong for your first match against a European team because European teams are our foes when it comes to these events,” added Regragui.
“We have players who play for European clubs… We need to take the European mindset and make it our mindset.”
After a disappointing outing in the last edition of the World Cup, African teams have bounced back in impressive style at this World Cup. There is still a long way to go, but for the second time, Africa now has two hopeful nations that are just three wins away from making it to the final. This is a significant improvement over their performance in previous tournaments, and it bodes well for their eventual chances of winning the cup.