The same five African teams that qualified for the last World Cup finals in South Africa (minus the host of that tournament) in 2010 have qualified for Brazil 2014. Algeria and Ghana on Tuesday joined Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Nigeria, which had all booked their places over the weekend. Their collective experience gives the continent hope that an African team can advance further than the quarterfinals, which would be unprecedented.
"We want to do something interesting in this World Cup, the previous two were difficult," Ivory Coast captain Didier Drogba said after qualifying for a third successive finals with a 4-2 aggregate win against Senegal. "In Brazil we hope to have a few more chances and at least get past the first round.” The Ivory Coast is Africa’s top-ranked team at 17th in the world.
In 2010, Ghana became Africa’s hope, only to be ousted controversially in the quarterfinals on penalties by Uruguay. This year, Ghana, which is ranked 23rd in the world by FIFA, advanced to the World Cup with a 7-3 aggregate thrashing of Bob Bradley’s Egypt.
Nigeria, winner of the 2013 African Nations Cup, showed its enormous potential on Tuesday in drawing 2-2 with Italy in London, barely 48 hours after beating Ethopia 2-0 on the night and 4-1 on aggregate in Calabar. The Super Eagles also won the U-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates earlier this year.