It was a battle of African countries over the weekend as they battled for the five available spots allocated to African countries at the World Cup, which will be hosted by Russia in 2018.
With just five African countries set to participate at the World Cup tournament, we examine the top eight African countries to have participated in the most World Cup tournaments;
8. South Africa – 3 times; 1998,2002,2010
This team has made an appearance three times, but never went past the first round. Their first appearance was in France 1998. The team finished third and thus exited the tournament. Korea/Japan 2002, they were eliminated at the group stage despite drawing to Paraguay and beating Slovenia 1–0 for their first-ever World Cup win. They hosted the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, beat France 2–1 and drew 1–1 to Mexico, but lost 0–3 to Uruguay. They lost out on progression to the round of 16, on goal difference.
7. Ghana – 3 times; 2006, 2010, and 2014
Ghana was the only African side to advance to the Second Round of 2006 FIFA World Cup and was the sixth nation in a row from Africa to progress beyond the group stages of the World Cup .Ghana finished 13th out of the 32 countries who competed in the tournament. In the 2010 World Cup, the team made it to the quarter-finals but were eventually eliminated by Uruguay via penalties after Luis Suárez controversially handballed on the goal line deep into extra time.
6. Ivory Coast – 3 times; 2006, 2010, and 2014
Like the Ghanaians, Ivory Coast,qualified for the 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cups. The current African champions have represented Africa just three times despite possessing a plethora of stars. Their World Cup showings have still not been impressive, failing to qualify past the first round in their appearances in the tournament. They will be hoping to perform better after having a perfect start in the qualification for the tournament.
5. Tunisia – 4 times; 1978, 1998, 2002, 2006
Tunisia have appeared in the finals of the FIFA World Cup on four occasions, the first being at the 1978 FIFA World Cup where they finished in ninth position. Between 1998 and 2006 they had a streak of three World Cup qualifications. Their team failed to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil as they lost the two-legged play-offs against Cameroon. They became the first African team to win a World Cup game, defeating Mexico 3–1 in Rosario in 1978.
4. Morocco – 4 times; 1970, 1986, 1994, 1998
Morocco have qualified for the final stages of the FIFA World Cup on four occasions. They were knocked out in the group stages in the World in 1970, they crossed the group stage in 1986 but were knocked out by West Germany. In 1994 and 1998, they were again knocked out in the group stage, meaning they’ve gone past the first round just once.
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3. Algeria – 4 times; 1982, 1986, 2010, 2014
Just like their North African neighbors, Algeria have appeared in the finals of the FIFA World Cup on four occasions in 1982, 1986, 2010 and 2014. They have once qualified for the knockout rounds just once, reaching the round of 16 in 2014 before losing to Germany.
2. Nigeria – 5 times; 1994, 1998, 2002, 2010, 2014
Amazingly for Nigeria, they have qualified for the World Cup five times. In 1994, they had one of their best outings, qualifying for the second round but were eventually undone by Italy. In 1998, they also repeated the same feet, but were undone by Denmark in the second round. In 2002 and 2010, they were knocked out in the group stages but put up an improved showing in the 2014 World Cup, reaching the second round before getting knocked out by France.
1. Cameroon – 7 times; 1982, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2010, 2014
Cameroon have appeared in the finals of the FIFA World Cup on seven occasions, the first being in 1982 where they drew all three group games and finished in 17th position. In 1990 Cameroon reached the Quarter-Final stage before being defeated 3-2 by England. They featured in 1994, 1998, 2002, 2010 and made their seventh appearance at the finals in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.