FIFA World Cup: Is Nigeria The Last Hope For Africa?By: Toni Matthews-El - June 25, 2014
The African continent has yet to produce a World Cup-winning team. Many nations have tried, but all have failed.
Even worse, most that qualify for the event are eliminated within the groups stage of competition.
It was a sad fact that even when the games came to South Africa in 2010, the only African nation that made it to the knockout stage was Ghana.
Ghana was then knocked out after a controversial match against Uruguay.
Four years later, the pattern appears to be repeating itself.
Yesterday saw the heart-breaking and absolute last minute elimination of the Ivory Coast due to a late penalty. Cameroon, a team that failed to win any of its three games or even draw, was officially eliminated a week ago.
Of the three remaining African nations still fighting for a spot in the final 16, Nigeria has the best chance.
If Nigeria can defeat Argentina, the team will not only qualify for the next stage, but finish at the top of the Group F table.
Losing will not eliminate the Nigerians, but they must hope that Iran either draws or loses to Bosnia and Herzegovina. If Iran wins with more than 2 goals, Nigeria is out.
Algeria can also qualify with a win or draw against Russia.
Meanwhile Ghana’s advancement is dependent on both defeating Portugal and hoping that the United States fails to defeat or draw with Germany.
Though these nations represent the strongest chances of having an African team in the knockout stage, it’s too soon to say whether or not their chances of qualifying are especially good.
The Ivory Coast needed a draw or win to advance. At certain times during play, it seemed like they could get either.
And then everything went badly.
These teams must take nothing for granted this week, as what stands before them is a last gasp at glory…or a plane ride out of the World Cup.
Image via YouTube