Football fans worldwide are eagerly preparing for the return of the World Cup, which will be held this year in Russia. Old favorites such as Argentina, Brazil, and Belgium, have once again made the cut this year (although not surprisingly). However, many fans are hoping that this year will mark the first time that an African nation will win the Cup. Since the competition began in 1930, an African country has yet to qualify in the semi-finals. But this year, there are five African nations competing in the tournament whose team members are hoping to make history. Let’s take a look at the African teams competing in this year’s World Cup!
Nicknamed the “Super Eagles”, Nigeria is the most consistent (and the most stylish) team on this list, having now competed in the World Cup for the sixth time. They are probably our best shot at having an African country finally win the tournament. Star player Alex Iwobi certainly has tough expectations to meet, but hopefully he’ll be able to withstand the pressure and show the world the African talent they need to see.
The Eagles of Carthage are the highest ranking African team on the list, placing at 21st on the FIFA ranking list. The team’s star player, Youssef Msakni, tore a ligament in April and unfortunately will not be able to play in the entire tournament. But with striker Wahbi Khazri now leading the team, fans are hoping that Tunisia will still be able to make a comeback.
The Lions of Teranga are back after being eliminated at the quarter finals in the 2002 World Cup. They had not made an appearance at the tournament since the defeat, so this is quite a big deal for Senegal and fans of the team. They are the second highest ranking team on this list, placing at 27th place on the FIFA list. Liverpool winger Sadio Mane headlines as the team’s star player and Senegal’s best shot for making it to the finals.
Surprisingly, this is only Egypt’s third time competing in the World Cup, having last played at the 1990 tournament. The Pharaohs will be led by Liverpool star Mohammed Salah, who will hopefully steer Egypt into the finals.
Last but not least, another Maghreb country completes the list of the African nations competing in this year’s tournament. Morocco- affectionately nicknamed the Lions of the Atlas by fans- will be competing in the World Cup this year for the fifth time. Younes Belhanda is expected to be the breakout star of the Moroccan team and surely won’t disappoint fans.