Sports

All Arab, African nations eliminated from World Cup after dramatic group stage

All Arab, African nations eliminated from World Cup after dramatic group stage

Despite being a goal down against Poland, Nishino's side spent the last ten minutes of the match passing the ball back and forth rather than going for the equaliser, knowing that they would progress to the next round if the scoreline of Colombia's match with Senegal did not change.

The standout last-16 tie on paper pits France against Lionel Messi and Argentina, two teams who laboured through the group stage - in Argentina's case they were lucky to advance at all.

Senegal fans cheer before the start of the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup Group H football match between Senegal and Colombia at the Samara Arena in Samara on June 28, 2018.

Football journalist Juliet Bawuah went through Senegal's journey in this World Cup and what their elimination means for African football.

Although he holds his players highly, Senegal head coach Aliou Cisse has admitted that they did not deserve to qualify for the round of 16 World Cup phase. "I would like to play both of them because they will pose a fantastic challenge for us".

"If Belgium didn't want to win, they obviously forgot to tell the goal scorer", Smith said, "Because it was a cracker". "It was incredible to be in this situation and hard for a team to take on", he said.

The Asian side were especially vulnerable as Nishino had excluded some of the squad's most creative players, including midfielder Takashi Inui and Makoto Hasebe, from the starting line-up.

"Malawi date Morocco just around the corner in September, but what are we doing about it", questioned Joseph Makandanje.

"What if we conceded another goal and it was 0-2?" he said. It's a sad for us but we knew these were the regulations. "Don't forget that we managed to beat Egypt here during the 2010 AFCON".

The failure is surprising as it comes at a time when African representation is growing at World Cups and when fans have waited patiently for one team from the continent to make their mark on football's biggest stage.

Iran's Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz leads a team huddle during a training session at the Mordovia Arena in Saransk on June 24, 2018, on the eve of their Russian Federation 2018 World Cup Group B soccer match against Portugal.


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