Assessing how the many African nations competing in the 2022 World Cup might fare, and just how far they might go in the competition.
It’s slightly odd looking ahead to the Qatar World Cup, which is being held in winter as Qatari summers are alarmingly hot. Africa has numerous teams entering the tournament, but which ones can make the knockout rounds, and how far can they go?
The Group Stage
In Group A, Senegal, reigning Africa Cup of Nations champions, compete to break into the knockout stages against Qatar, Ecuador, and the Netherlands. This is not a bad group, and the Senegalese stand a decent chance of escaping. Qatar are only in as the host nation and should be a pushover. The Netherlands are a different matter, however, and beating them would be impressive, but the Senegalese should have the advantage over Ecuador and be able to either win or be runner-up in Group A.
Group D features Tunisia, who are going to have a rough time escaping the group stage. Not only are they in the same group as defending champions France, but they also face impressive Denmark, and even the weakest team, Australia, will not be an easy match, though Tunisia would hope to beat them. The France/Denmark combination is going to be a tricky proposition for Tunisia.
Morocco play in Group F and will have to face a very impressive side from Belgium who may prove tough to beat. On the other side of the fence, Canada will be much easier opposition and progression from this group may be down to how Morocco fare against Croatia. The Croatian team reached the final last time the World Cup was held (when Belgium was third) but are not beyond Morocco’s ability to beat. Probably.
In Group G Cameroon will play against opposition including the always-fancied Brazil. As if that weren’t enough, Switzerland and Serbia are also going to prove challenging competition. Cameroon really have their work cut out to avoid exiting at the group stage.
Finally, we come to Group H and Ghana. And it’s looking tough for the African side given they’re the lowest-ranked of the four Group H teams by quite some distance. Beating South Korea would be a good result for Ghana, though it’s far from certain, but the real problem is that Portugal and Uruguay are going to make it unlikely the African side will progress. Nevertheless, nothing’s impossible in football, but Ghana will need a healthy dose of luck to progress.
Online Casino Betting
Luck plays a huge role in football, whether that’s the referee making good or bad calls, or players getting injured. It’s also an element that makes the beautiful game so entertaining, and much the same is true at the best SA online casino sites. Bettors can visit top10casinos.com, choose and play a fantastic array of games including the latest cutting-edge slots, table games like blackjack, roulette, and poker, virtual sports and more. Better yet, many sites welcome new players with generous introductory promotions.
Senegal’s Possible Path to Glory
If Senegal do make it out of Group A, then they stand to face the winner or runner-up from Group B. England is likely, though not certain, to top Group B but even if Senegal do face the side there may be more hope than would be expected against the most consistent team in international tournaments (top four in both the last World Cup and last Euros). England have been performing relatively poorly lately, and if they carry that form into the World Cup they will be a lot more beatable. However, if England can play to their potential then beating them would be a very big ask.
Other teams Senegal could face at the last 16 stage include Wales and the United States. Either would be a test, but one that Senegal is certainly capable of passing. Should Senegal reach the quarters then things become less predictable but they would be up against a team from Group C or Group D. These include France, Denmark, and Argentina, all big hitters and the sort of stiff opposition that has to be beaten for World Cup glory. But it’s got to be said that getting beyond the quarter-finals would be an immense result by itself for Senegal.
Morocco’s World Cup Potential
Morocco are unlucky to find themselves in a group with both Belgium and Croatia, both of whom finished top four in the last World Cup. But while Belgium may well be beyond the African side, Croatia may not be and there is some hope of progression out of Group F. If this happens then a Group E team awaits them in the last 16.
We have not touched upon Group E yet, but it includes Spain (top five in the betting for the title), Germany (who often do well at World Cups), Costa Rica, and Japan. The likeliest opposition for Morocco is Spain or Germany and both would feel confident of beating the African side, who would be up against it.
However, Morocco is not a pushover and complacency by the opposition or a great performance by themselves could see them through to the quarters. This brings teams from Groups G and H into play, including the likes of Brazil, Portugal, and Uruguay, all of whom would be favorites with the bookies to beat Morocco. While the team will hope to progress past the group stage, both the last 16 and quarter final matchups look daunting.
Calling the Odds
It’s always tricky predicting a tournament but sportsbooks are no fools when it comes to betting. At the time of writing, the favourites are Brazil and France, followed by England and Argentina. The top-ranked African team is Senegal at 50/1 for the title, with Cameroon and Morocco at 150/1. One potential advantage teams from Africa may enjoy, especially over European opposition, is that if the planned air-conditioning of whole stadium is less effective than hoped it’ll be easier for them to acclimatize compared to teams from somewhere like England (not renowned for being hot).
Obviously, these are not promising odds for those hoping for the glory of being the first African World Cup-winning side. But it’s worth recalling that Greece had odds of 150/1 to win Euro 2004, and that’s precisely what they did.
African sides have a decent shot of making it to the last 16 or even the quarters, but getting further would utterly confound expectations. Yet such things have happened before in football.