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Morocco national team players celebrate their first World Cup appearance after 20 years.
Morocco national team players celebrate their first World Cup appearance after 20 years.

Africa World Cup Berths Complete, Europe Yet to Come

Morocco will make their first appearance at the global finals since France 1998, while Tunisia make their World Cup return for the first time since Germany 2006

Africa World Cup Berths Complete, Europe Yet to Come

Morocco and Tunisia completed the Confederation of African Football (CAF) line-up at the FIFA World Cup, securing the last of Africa’s berths at Russia 2018.
Morocco national football team, nicknamed the Lions of the Atlas, recorded an impressive 2-0 victory away to Ivory Coast, while a goalless stalemate at home to Libya was enough for the Tunisia national football team, Eagles of Carthage, to pip Congo DR and sit on top spot in Group A, FIFA website reported.
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 Congo that needed Libya to record a victory over the Eagles of Carthage on Saturday.
Morocco will make their first appearance at the global finals since France 1998, while Tunisia make their World Cup return for the first time since Germany 2006.
  Europeans Waiting
While all berths for Africa are completed, yet, situation for European teams is still unknown. During the game between Ireland and Denmark, keeper Darren Randolph pulled off a string of fine first-half saves as Ireland held Denmark to a scoreless draw in the first leg of their World Cup playoff on Saturday, with the two sides due to meet again in Dublin on Tuesday.
The Irish defended deeply from the first whistle, denying playmaker Christian Eriksen space, but the Danes still managed to fashion half a dozen scoring chances in the first half. With his side barely venturing forward in attack, Randolph was called into action early, parrying a stinging volley from Jens Stryger Larsen and smothering an attempt from Andreas Cornelius to hammer home the rebound.
Eriksen and Pione Sisto also went close for Denmark in quick succession, and Randolph tipped over a late header from Yussuf Poulsen to ensure his side escaped from the Danish capital with a draw. Aimlessly firing long balls forward, Ireland barely threatened the Danish goal and a solo raid by Cyrus Christie at the end of the first half was the closest they came to breaking the deadlock.
Nicklas Bendtner’s arrival as a second-half substitute for Sisto was greeted with roars of approval from the vast majority of the 36,189 fans at the Parken Stadium, in Copenhagen, but the popular striker did little during his 17 minutes on the field.
Poulsen’s late header on target gave the Danes hope of a late winner, but the Irish slowed the tempo even further to close out the game and set up a decisive 90 minutes in Dublin with a place at next year’s finals in Russia at stake.

 

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