Africa in the FIFA World Cup: Part 6 - The noughties and beyond...
Last week the World Cup draw in Cape Town revealed the fate of the 32 nations appearing in next year's finals, including the six African nations taking part. This is a record number of teams from the continent appearing. It took many years for the African confederation to get a number of spots at the World Cup finals that they could be happy with, and last week, leading up to the draw, I looked at the history of African teams featuring in the tournament from 1934, through the wilderness years of the fifties and sixties, through the seventies, eighties and nineties.
Africa in the FIFA World Cup: Japan and South Korea 2002
Cameroon, Tunisia, South Africa and Nigeria were familiar African nations by the 2002 tournament, but Senegal were the surprise package. As Cameroon had done in Italia 90 against Argentina, Senegal secured a shock victory over the reigning World Champions in the opening game. Bouba Diop's single goal gave the Senegalese, making their first appearance in the finals, the win over France. A draw with Denmark and victory over Uruguay saw them progress from Group A. They were the only African nation to progress beyond the group stages.
In the second round, Senegal faced European opposition in the shape of Sweden. Senegal again emulated Cameroon's 1990 achievements with a 2-1 victory in extra-time, making them the second ever African team to reach the quarter-finals. Turkey awaited them, and after a 0-0 draw in regulation time, İlhan Mansız's golden goal put the Turks through to the last four.
Africa in the FIFA World Cup: Germany 2006
2006 represented something of a changing of the guard for African football. Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Angola all appeared for the first time - ending a series of consecutive qualifications by Cameroon, Nigeria, Tunisia and South Africa. Tunisia were the only 'established' African World Cup nation to feature. I actually went to one of Togo's games, against Switzerland, in Dortmund
It was Ghana who were the only team to progress to the second round. They qualified from a group featuring Italy, Czech Republic and the USA, and then faced Brazil in the second round. A 3-0 defeat sent the African's home.
The Ivory Coast were unlucky to find themselves in a group with Argentina, the Netherlands and Serbia & Montenegro, and despite playing some great attacking football, they were eliminated after successive 2-1 defeats against Argentina and the Netherlands.
Africa in the FIFA World Cup: South Africa 2010
The draw for the 2010 World Cup has thrown up some very mixed fortunes for African sides. Going into it, South Africa were the lowest ranked team, and a draw of Mexico, Uruguay and France does not bode well for their chances of progressing. Ghana and the Ivory Coast will also feel that again they have been handed a tough draw.
Cameroon and Nigeria have been drawn in fairly balanced groups, whilst Algeria may feel they have the best chance of all the African to progress. If they can secure a win against Slovenia in their opening game, then any kind of positive results against England or the USA may be enough to carry them through.
Africa in the FIFA World Cup: Records
Starting with Egypt versus Hungary in 1934, African teams have played 90 matches in World Cup Finals, and they've won 32 of them. Cameroon in the 1990 quarter-finals against England, and Senegal in the 2002 quarter-finals against Turkey are the furthest African teams have gone in the tournament. Nigeria and Cameroon are the African teams with the best records, winning 4 games each. Togo and Zaire have the worst records, losing every game in their single appearance at the finals.
|Cameroon||1982, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2010||Quarter finals (1990)||17||4||7||6||15||29|
|Senegal||2002||Quarter finals (2002)||5||2||2||1||7||6|
|Nigeria||1994, 1998, 2002, 2010||Second round (1994, 1998)||11||4||1||6||14||17|
|Morocco||1970, 1986, 1994, 1998||Second round (1986)||13||2||4||7||13||18|
|Ghana||2006, 2010||Second round (2006)||4||2||0||1||4||6|
|Tunisia||1978, 1998, 2002, 2006||First round (1978, 1998, 2002, 2006)||12||1||4||7||8||17|
|Algeria||1982, 1986, 2010||First round (1982, 1986)||6||2||1||3||6||10|
|South Africa||1998, 2002, 2010||First round (1998, 2002)||6||1||3||2||8||11|
|Egypt||1934, 1990||First round (1934, 1990)||4||0||2||2||3||5|
|Ivory Coast||2006, 2010||First round (2006)||3||1||0||2||5||6|
|Angola||2006||First round (2006)||3||0||2||1||1||2|
|Togo||2006||First round (2006)||3||0||0||3||1||6|
|Zaire (now DR Congo)||1974||First round (1974)||3||0||0||3||0||14|
I hope you've enjoyed this dip into World Cup history. However the African nations perform in 2010, the fact that the tournament is being held on the continent for the first time goes some way to redressing the qualifying procedures, which, between 1938 and 1966, prevented a single African team reaching the finals. I can't wait to see how the tournament unfolds...