For the first time Africa will be represented by three countries from the Arab world in the 2018 world cup in Russia. This is after Morocco and Tunisia completed CAF’s line-up at the FIFA World Cup, securing the last of Africa’s berths at Russia 2018.
The Atlas Lions recorded an impressive 2-0 victory away to Côte d’Ivoire, while a goalless stalemate at home to Libya was enough for the Eagles of Carthage to pip Congo DR to top spot in Group A.
This will be the first time Morocco are participating in the global show piece since France 1998 while Tunisia make their World Cup return for the first time since Germany 2006. Both nations join Nigeria, Egypt and Senegal as Africa’s representatives at the global finals next year.
A mouth-watering clash lay in store in Abidjan, where Côte d’Ivoire hosted Morocco, with the winner booking a ticket to Russia 2018. Nabil Dirar gave Morocco the lead on 25 minutes, delivering a cross that Khalid Boutaib came close to heading, but the ball ended up finding the back of the net.
The Atlas Lions then doubled their lead just five minutes later through captain Mehdi Benatia’s neat finish off a corner, ensuring Herve Renard’s men finished top of Group C.
Meanwhile, in Group A, Tunisia played out a tense goalless draw with Libya to edge Congo DR to top spot by just one point. Two stoppage-time goals through Jonathan Bolingi and Neeskens Kebano, which sealed a 3-1 win against Guinea, was not enough for Florent Ibenge’s side, who needed Libya to record a victory over the Eagles of Carthage on Saturday.