Saturday, 18 November, 2017

Morocco beat Ivory Coast in Abijan to qualify for Russian Federation

David Ramos  Getty Images Sport Tunisia, Morocco, reach Russia 2018
Spencer Simpson | 13 November, 2017, 00:48

Tunisia qualified for the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation despite being held 0-0 at home by Libya in their final Group A qualifier.

Morocco ended their 20 years wait for a World Cup ticket when they beat the Elephants of Ivory Coast 2-0 in front of their home fans.

The qualification of Morocco and Tunisia signaled an apparent shift in African soccer, giving North Africa three teams at the World Cup and more than any other region for the first time since 1986.

Morocco and Tunisia now join Nigeria, Senegal and Egypt as Africa's representatives at next year's FIFA World Cup in Russian Federation.

But it proved to be enough and, after missing out in 2010 and 2014, Tunisia will be at the World Cup for a fifth time.

West Africa has dominated Africa's contingent at the World Cup in recent years but some of its big names missed out this time: Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Ghana, all African champions multiple times, won't be in Russian Federation.

Tunisia qualified for the World Cup after winning the group with 14 points.

In Group A, DR Congo, on 10 points, were still in with a chance to catch leaders Tunisians on 13 points, but despite a late 3-1 win over Guinea, it was too little too late.

But it was the Moroccans who got the breakthrough when Nabil Dirar's cross evaded everyone and found its way it to the net.

Leaders Atlas Lions, managed by Herve Renard, who led the Ivoirians to the Africa Cup of Nations title two years ago, had nine points and needed just a draw to qualify for the Mundial, while second-place Elephants with eight points, needed a win. While it scored eleven goals in six games, the national team did not concede a single goal.

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