Africa is a continent where the love for football is very strong. It is the most popular sport in almost all its nations, even in those that are not strong countries in soccer (for example, Sudan), and today great players who are stars in Europe were born in some African country: Sadio Mane, Riyad Mahrez, Mo Salah, Hakim Ziyech, etc.
Since Egypt made its debut in the 1934 Italy World Cup, several African nations have managed to get to play in a World Cup. Although the truth is that few have been able to stand out. However, there were exceptions and of course here we will see who were those countries that became the revelations of the championship the furthest.
Prior to Qatar 2022, there wasn't a single country that held the record. Three African nations had reached the same stage. These were Cameroon, Senegal and Ghana, all three reaching the quarterfinals. Here we will analyze those three countries on a case-by-case basis and explain if history has been finally made by another African squad.
Cameroon World Cup Italy 1990
The Cameroonian team was the great revelation of this tournament, with a style of play that was characterized by being very aggressive in scoring. They went through the group stage beating Argentina 1-0, the last world champions, then beat Romania 2-1 and finally lost 4-0 to the Soviet Union.
One of the best-known episodes of the World Cup took place in the round of 16. Cameroon faced Colombia. However, in an oversight, Roger Milla stole the ball from Colombian goalkeeper Rene Higuita and scored the goal with which his team won 2-1. They would finally be eliminated against England, after equalizing 2-2 in the 90 minutes and the English scoring the final 3-2 in extra time.
Senegal World Cup Core-Japan 2002
Senegal was one of the debutants in this World Cup and, as it was their first time, they did not do badly at all. In fact, they were the surprise of the group stage, where they advanced in second place leaving out Uruguay and France, who were the defending champions in that tournament.
Everything was a party for the Senegalese, who were not satisfied with that heroic blame, but went for more. In the round of 16 they played against Sweden, whom they beat 2-1. In the quarterfinals they had a tough match against Turkey, however, the Turks scored the goal in the 94th minute that eliminated the Senegalese, who nevertheless left a pleasant memory.
Ghana World Cup South Africa 2010
Ghana were playing their second World Cup in a row, after making a good impression at Germany 2006. Of course, they wanted to show that they had more to give and they really showed it. They had a tough group, with Germany, Australia and Serbia. The Ghanaians managed to take second place by having a better goal difference than the Australians.
In the round of 16, the rivals would be the United States, whom they defeated 2-1. And in the quarterfinals came one of the most remembered games of that World Cup. They faced Uruguay and there was a truly even match, which ended 1-1 and they had to go into extra time.
There is the action that made this game go down in history: at the last minute, Luis Suarez deflected a ball that was on its way to become a goal for Ghana with his hands. Of course, a penalty was sanctioned, and the Uruguayan was expelled. It was the penalty and the match was over. However, Gyan Asamoah missed and then the Uruguayans won 4-2 on penalties.
Who has gone the furthest?
Morocco made soccer history by becoming the first African team ever to reach the semifinals in a World Cup. The Atlas Lions defeated Portugal in the quarterfinals (1-0) producing another surprise in Qatar 2022. As we've mentioned before, Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002) and Ghana (2010) arrived to the Top-8, but never went beyond that point.
To enjoy Qatar 2022, nothing better than trying the simulator. Click here and start guessing what the next World Cup will be like.