After three years of blood, sweat, and tears, 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying in Africa is coming down to the final hurdle. Who’s in? Who’s still alive? What exactly do they have to do to get to Russia? We break it all down.
By now, you know that Nigeria and Egypt are the only two African sides to have officially clinched their spots in Russia. The Super Eagles conquered Africa’s ‘Group of Death’ with surprising ease, while the Pharaohs finally ended what will be a 28-year World Cup finals drought.
Tunisia is just about through as well. You probably have a better shot of winning Powerball’s $143 million jackpot than the Carthage Eagles do of missing out on Russia 2018.
Still, three of Africa’s five allotted spots have yet to officially be decided, making for an absolutely thrilling finale in November.
Perhaps the most exciting crescendo comes from Group C. Morocco, undefeated and yet to concede a goal, must earn any positive result in Abidjan in order to make their first World Cup finals since the Mustapha Hadji-led Atlas Lions stormed France ’98.
Things get a bit more convoluted in Group D, with leaders Senegal and challengers South Africa the only teams on the continent with two matches left to play instead of just one. In fact, both are against each other – one in Dakar and one in Johannesburg – and will likely determine the group’s representative in Russia.
TUNISIA qualifies with…
Win or draw vs. Libya, OR
DR Congo loss or draw vs. Guinea, OR
Loss by 1 goal vs. Libya, DR Congo win by 1 goal over Guinea, AND Tunisia scores at least as many goals vs. Libya as DR Congo does vs. Guinea
DR CONGO qualifies with…
Win vs. Guinea, Tunisia loss vs. Libya, AND if both results are by a one-goal difference DR Congo must score more goals than Tunisia
NIGERIA has qualified
MOROCCO qualifies with…
Win or draw at Ivory Coast
IVORY COAST qualifies with…
Win vs. Morocco
SENEGAL qualifies with…
At least two points from its final two matches (at South Africa on Nov. 10, vs. South Africa on Nov. 14)
BURKINA FASO qualifies with…
Win vs. Cape Verde, South Africa loss and draw at Senegal and vs. Senegal (in any order), AND win over Cape Verde; plus South Africa loss to Senegal must combine for goal difference that favors Burkina Faso’s goal difference against Senegal’s (Senegal currently +4 over Burkina Faso)
CAPE VERDE qualifies with…
Win at Burkina Faso, South Africa loss and draw at Senegal and vs. Senegal (in any order), AND win over Burkina Faso; plus South Africa loss to Senegal must combine for goal difference that favors Cape Verde’s goal difference against Senegal’s (Senegal currently +8 over Cape Verde)
SOUTH AFRICA qualifies with…
At least four points from its final two matches (vs. Senegal on Nov. 10, at Senegal on Nov. 14)
EGYPT has qualified