Here are the 5 greatest African teams at the FIFA World Cup

The 2022 World Cup kicks off in Qatar in a fortnight and Africa will be represented by five (5) teams in: Ghana, Senegal, Cameroun, Tunisia and Morocco.

Best African teams

The continent made its FIFA World Cup debut all the way back in 1934 when the Pharaohs of Egypt played a single game in the tournament in Italy.


However, after numerous decades, no team from Africa has ever lifted the World Cup trophy.

That notwithstanding, African teams over the years have put up some electrifying performances at the global showpiece.

In this article, we recapped the best 5 African teams that have gone the farthest in the tournament in no particular order.

1 . Algeria at the 1982 World Cup in Spain: On their first appearance at the World Cup, Algeria made an impact that changed the tournament forever.

They produced one of the most exhilarating performances to defeat one of the favourites, West Germany.

Algeria, spearheaded by legendary forward Rabah Madjer, shocked West Germany by beating them 2-1 and consequently becoming the first African nation to beat a European nation during a World Cup.

Unfortunately, Algeria were eliminated in the first round following collusion between Austria and West Germany. The two European neighbours, knowing that a German victory by one or two goals would see both sides through, played for a specific result.

2 . Nigeria at the 1994 World Cup in USA: The Super Eagles of Nigeria were one of the most talked about team at the FIFA World Cup in 1994.

Led by the all-conquering striker Rashidi Yekini, Nigeria made its debut at the mundial and made it out of a group of Argentia, Bulgaria and Greece.

They faced an Italian side that depended on a half-fit Roberto Baggio and the tactical nous of experienced manager Ariggo Sacchi in the Round of 16.

Winger Emmanuel Amuneke put Nigeria in the lead with a 17th-minute instinctive goal, and a shocking quarter-final spot beckoned.

The Super Eagles were two minutes from winning before a slip from Sunday Oliseh gave Baggio the chance to equalise.

Baggio converted an extra-time penalty to take Italy through and shatter Nigerian dreams.

3 . Senegal at the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea: The Terranga Lions made one of the memorable debuts of a team at the World Cup in 2002.

The African minnows beat the defending champions France in the opening game of the tournament courtesy a Papa Bouba Diop goal.

They went on to draw with Denmark and Uruguay to make the next round. In reward for advancing to the knockout stages at their first World Cup, Senegal earned a Round of 16 trip to the Big Eye Stadium in Oita to face Sweden. Yet Henrik Larsson put any hopes of a quarter-final place at risk when the Blagult legend scored after only 11 minutes.

Henri Camara would come up with the goods to draw the Lions of Teranga level later on in the first-half. And it was the 99-cap striker, who had assisted twice in the 3-3 draw against Uruguay, who delivered 14 minutes into sudden death extra-time from Pape Thiaw’s pass.

Senegal would take their quarter-final against Turkey to sudden death extra-time, as well, after a goalless stalemate through 90 minutes. But Ilhan Mansiz found the breakthrough for the Crescent Stars just four minutes after the restart to end the Lions of Teranga’s run.

4 . Cameroon at the 1990 World Cup in Italy: The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon made history by becoming the first African country to make the quarterfinals in the World Cup in 1990.

Powered by Roger Milla’s swivelling hips and a fearless athleticism, Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions were the shining light of the 1990 World Cup in Italy.

Wins over holders Argentina, Romania and Colombia set the bar high and, for the first time, an African side claimed three wins at a World Cup.

That performance was widely expected to herald a new age of achievement. It also seemed to justify Pele’s assertion that an African team would win the World Cup by 2000.

Cameroon reached the quarter-finals before being defeated 3–2 by England.

5 . Ghana at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa: The Black Stars of Ghana were one of the best teams at the 2010 World Cup.

Though they did not win the trophy, Ghana’s quarterfinal game against Uruguay was one of the contentious matches ever at the World Cup.

Denied by a late handball by Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez, Ghana would have made the semi-finals and make history at the first African team to do so.

The Black Stars beat Serbia and drew with Australia and lost to Germany to make the round of 16. An Asamoah Gyan extra time goal took Ghana past the United States of America in the next round before their unfortunate clash with Uruguay.


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