The World Cup in Qatar is eagerly awaited by everyone, except for the teams that won’t be there (ooooh it doesn’t matter). No, seriously, there are teams that didn’t qualify or that narrowly qualified and that really surprised us.
We know that there is less room in the world for African or American teams (in fact all non-European teams), but still we were shocked by the elimination of Algeria or Egypt. Little return for the teams who only have their eyes to cry…
1. Italy (poor Marco)…
Images of Marco Verratti in tears at the end of the play-off against North Macedonia went around the world.
At the same time, the reigning European champions are knocked out in a match won 1-0 by a “small” team like North Macedonia, and will not take part in the World Cup for the second time in a row, seriously, it’s hot.
Verratti didn’t even want to play the last match against Turkey, which Italy narrowly won… We’re going to try to eat more pizzas to console our Italian friends.
In the remarks, Algeria seemed favorable compared to Cameroon. Winner of the 2019 edition of the CAN, we expected the Fennecs at the turn.
And finally Cameroon snatch their victory against Algeria at the last moment, during extra time in the 124th minute, saved by Karl Toko-Ekambi
It was a hair’s breadth, excuse the expression, but that illustrates the situation quite well. As a reminder, before the CAN Algeria said (jokingly, but still) play the CAN as a “warm-up” to then try for a victory in the World Cup… well it will be neither one nor the other obviously.
See you a few months ago in the CAN final which already opposed Senegal and Egypt, and which Senegal had already won on the wire. Well rebelotte for qualifying for the World Cup this year: Senegal snatch their place against Egypt on penalties and qualify at the expense of the Pharaohs of Egypt. Twice in a row hurts.
4. Nigeria will not participate in the world…
Finally in the African eliminated, we also find Nigeria and Mali. For Nigeria it is a first since 2006, and this defeat is bitter because the two meetings against Ghana ended in draws (0-0 in the first leg, and 1-1 in the second leg), however these are good the Ghanaians who will go to compete in Qatar, and return to the world stage after their absence in 2018.
5. …As well as Mali
Tunisia eliminates Mali with a score of 1-0 in the first leg and a 0-0 draw in the second leg. We must admit that the return match was pretty average and that the Malians will have some regrets for what could have been their first qualification for a world championship, but hey, that’s the game!
You will see that the Malian supporters are very disappointed, because Mali dominated their match, but a lack of realism makes them stop at the gates of the biggest football competition in the world. The disappointment was already big enough after the CAN, where Mali had been eliminated by Equatorial Guinea in the round of 16, and had been quite disappointing, history repeats itself.
6. In the American teams we will have to deprive ourselves of Chile…
In South America we will find the classic quartet Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Ecuador. Brazil broke a points record by making a clear round during this qualifying phase, Argentina followed as well as Uruguay and Ecuador, so it remained to know the possible play-off. And it is Peru that “wins” this place and will face Australia or the United Arab Emirates in June to find out which of these teams will win the golden ticket.
In the meantime, Chile remains on the sidelines being “only” 7th in the group of South America (remember that for South America, there are only 5 places, whereas there are 13 in Europe, so ok there are more countries in Europe, but does Serbia really deserve its place more than Chile for example? (The question arises).
7. …and Colombia
The hopes for Colombia were quite low. They were waiting in vain for the defeat of Peru, but it will not be the case. After their defeat against Uruguay (2-0), who finished 3rd in the group, their qualification was then impossible. They thus finish 6th in their group, which is a big disappointment for them given their good run in the 2014 World Cup where they went to the quarter-finals, and in the 2018 World Cup where they reached the eighth.
8. Not too many surprises at the level of eliminated from the Asian Football Confederation
On the Asian side, there are no real surprises. Qatar is automatically qualified because it is the host country. Then, we find Iran qualified since January, South Korea, Japan, and Saudi Arabia. It’s Australia which is a little in the sauce, but which has a glimmer of hope.
In fact, to qualify, the Australians, who lost to Japan, must beat one of the teams from Group A of the Asia zone (the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon or Iraq), and only if they win will they have to then face the play-off team of South America, in other words Peru. Yes it sounds complicated, but nothing is impossible.
9. For Central and North America: Costa Rica, in the play-off against an Asian team
A bit like for the point above, there were few surprises in terms of qualified and eliminated for Central America and North America (0 suspense, we would almost be pissed off).
Canada dominated these qualifications and ranks first in the group, followed by the United States and Mexico who should qualify without too much difficulty.
The question arises above all in Costa Rica, which will face the United States on March 31. If they lose, the Costa Rican team will therefore have to face another country in the intercontinental play-offs, the same hassle as Australia. A miracle would have to happen for Costa Rica: a six-goal victory against the USA or Mexico’s defeat against El Salvador, yeah, we think it’s average. Otherwise Navas and his teammates will have a second chance against the Solomon Islands or New Zealand to clinch a place.
We remind you that for this area, there are only 3.5 places (not very nice).
10. Portugal, narrowly qualified
Let’s go back a bit to Europe to talk about Portugal. Even if they are qualified, it is still not necessary to publish their tumultuous course. The 2016 European champions still found themselves in the play-offs, which is quite surprising for a team that has “the greatest player in the world” among them. It was therefore played between Portugal and Italy, two teams supposed to be dominant in European football and yet, one of them was not going to participate in the world.
Today, we know, it is Italy that will not be in the game, but still, Portugal has come a long way.