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World Cup 2026: Africa’s Big Hitters are Nicely on Track

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We’re at the start of a fantastic summer of international football and, while Europe and America prepare for their 2024 tournaments, in Africa all thoughts turn to the World Cup 2026.

The African continent has nine qualifiers guaranteed for the finals, to be held in North America and Mexico, with all group winners earning a place. And, so far, it looks like Africa’s best football nations are in good shape, with Egypt, Cameroon, Morocco, the Ivory Coast, Senegal and Tunisia all topping their groups.

The outliers are Nigeria who have drawn all three of their games so far, but the Super Eagles sit just two points behind leaders Lesotho and should have enough to turn things around. They came from behind to draw 1-1 with South Africa on Friday and have a very winnable match against Benin on Monday. And with a squad including Napoli’s Victor Osimhen, Atalanta’s Europa League winning star Ademola Lookman and Bayer Leverkusen’s Bundesliga winning Nathan Tella in the side, Nigeria have more than enough firepower to get back on track.     

Tunisia top their group with ten points from four games, though they were held to a goalless draw with second placed Namibia on Sunday after winning their first three. Last week the Carthage Eagles beat Equatorial Guinea 1-0 thanks to a late penalty converted by Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane. With wins over Sao Tome and Malawi already in the bag Tunisia are in a great position to qualify for a third consecutive World Cup finals   

In other World Cup 2026 news, AFCON winners Ivory Coast are in charge of their group with three wins from three, including a 9-0 spanking of Seychelles and a 2-0 win over Gambia in 2023, and the Elephants beat Gabon 1-0 on Friday. With Borussia Dortmund’s striker Sebastien Haller leading the line and Roma centre back Evan Ndicka alongside Nottingham Forest’s Willy Boly in defence they are strong at both ends of the pitch and have recently flexed their muscles in a 2-1 friendly win over South American giants Uruguay, a team we’re tipping here at SBOTOP to go deep into the upcoming Copa America.             

Egypt top their league with three wins from three, including a 2-1 victory over Burkina Faso last week and, with Mohammed Salah in their ranks the Pharaohs have one of the best players in the world over the past decade. He’s scored 56 goals in 98 internationals and the Liverpool ace, at 31 years of age, is still in his prime.         

2021 AFCON champions Senegal went top of their group with eight points from four games and, after drawing their last two qualifying games with DR Congo and Togo, they got back to winning ways with a 1-0 win away to neighbours Mauritania. The Lions of Teranga dominated much of the game and were well worth their 1-0 win thanks to a first half header from Al-Shabab star Habib Diallo. The Lions of Taranga have Chelsea’s 22 year old striker Nicolas Jackson in their ranks and surely it’s only a matter of time until he bags his first international goal. 

World Cup 2026: Vincent Aboubakar and Andre Onana will play for Cameroon
Vincent Aboubakar expected to lead Cameroon in the World Cup 2026

Cameroon sits top of their group on seven points, alongside Libya and two ahead of Angola. After drawing 1-1 with Libya and beating Mauritius 3-0 in 2023, the Indomitable Lions returned to World Cup action with a thumping 4-1 win over Cape Verde. Veteran striker Vincent Aboubakar scored twice as the Lions raced into a 3-1 half time lead and Cameroon coasted to a win, with Nouhou Tolo scoring a late fourth.

Manchester United keeper Andre Onana is probably their biggest star now and this was an impressive result for Cameroon who didn’t perform as well as Cape Verde at AFCON 2024, going out to Nigeria in a Round of 16 match while the Blue Sharks went out at the quarter final stage, on penalties to South Africa. Both teams are back in action on Tuesday, Cameroon away to Angola while Cape Verde will host Libya and could move up to second place if results go their way.       

When it comes to the World Cup 2026 betting odds the big football nations of South America and Europe will be at the top of the pile but, remember, it was Morocco who joined winners Argentina, finalists France and Croatia in the semi-finals in Qatar in 2022. After kicking off their 2026 campaign with a 2-0 win over Tanzania the Atlas Lions beat Zambia last Thursday to make it two from two and they will fancy their chances when they meet DR Congo on Tuesday.

Whether they can go so far in the 2026 finals remains to be seen, but I have little doubt this talented bunch of Lions will be there in the Americas.  

   

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