The Russia 2018 World Cup is obviously one of the footballing tournaments the African continent would want to forget in a hurry going by how poorly the representatives performed. It was unarguably one of the tournaments which many fans had thought would see some African players who have established themselves in European club football carve a niche for themselves with their nations, However, it was same old, same old.
No African team made it out of the group stages of the Russia 2018 World Cup. This was a disaster going by the precedence the continent had set in previous tournaments. However, regardless of the experience a majority of the top African players have garnered in the process of playing European footie regularly, they still fell short. We’ve taken some notes on how African countries performed in Russia 2018, and they are listed below:
Poor mental strength
African teams still appear to have the inferiority complex when playing against other countries, and that’s putting it mildly. The likes of Nigeria and Senegal needed just a draw in their last games against faltering opponents but yet conspired to lose and get eliminated although they were on the driving seat before those games. Anyway, Senegal deserve some credit for picking up the first point and three points for the African continent in the first round of matches.
Bad news for North African nations
One would have expected the North Africans with the bulk of the representation in Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco who parade some of the best African players presently, playing in some decent European clubs sides to fly their flags higher. Well, it was not the same. The three teams could only muster a win in a combined 9 games between them, and it was a hard-fought 2:1 win for Tunisia over tournament whipping boys Panama.
Average performances in attack
The 5 African representatives in the competition scored just 16 goals in a combined 15 games. On average that would be 1 goal a game. No surprises, none made it out of the group stages.
Fair play rule thrashed Africa
Senegal were on the receiving end of FIFA Fairplay’s wrath as they were ousted from the competition in favor of Japan after garnering more yellow cards in the tournament after being tied on points and goals after three games.