Karl Toko Ekambi's 124' winner at the Stade Mustapha Tchaker seconds before the full-time whistle left Algeria devastated.
Six Confederations, 211 Countries, 32 Spots. One out of the 32 spots in the FIFA World Cup is an unrivalled source of joy, happiness, ecstasy, and elation. Perhaps more importantly, the feeling of representing one’s country when the entire world stops to watch is arguably the best feeling, and no one, except the host nation, is guaranteed a spot. Even before the curtain raiser of the tournament in Qatar, the footballing fraternity saw a number of big names slip out of the quadrennial event.
The FIFA World Cup is the biggest showcase of talent and ability in football, with many footballers skyrocketing their careers on the back of strong performances on the grandest of stages among the best talent across the globe.
The World Cup is the pinnacle of international football. While the nation’s failure or failure to qualify has caused embarrassment, it has also caused heartbreak.
The Super Eagles are currently ranked 32nd in the FIFA World Cup rankings and were considered one of the favourites to qualify for the Qatar World Cup. Nigeria have been a solid unit over the years, with their best results coming in 1994, 1998, and 2014, when they reached the round of 16. Nigeria’s hopes of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar were derailed when they drew both of their playoff ties against Ghana. Ghana qualified for Qatar on the basis of an away goal policy in the second leg of the tie.
Algeria are ranked 37th in the World FIFA Ranking, and their best run of form in the World Cup was in 2014 when they reached the Round of 16 stages. In Qualification, this time around, Algeria almost had booked a spot for them in Qatar after an extra-time goal against Cameroon but Karl Toko Ekambi’s 124′ winner at the Stade Mustapha Tchaker seconds before full-time left Algeria devastated
Egypt currently ranks 39th in the FIFA World Rankings, and with the mega event in the Middle East, the Egyptians could have received massive support. Their best run in a FIFA World Cup campaign came in 1934, 1990, and 2018, when they reached the Group Stage. Missed penalties came back to haunt Egypt in the playoff match against Senegal, turning Egypt’s World Cup dreams into heartbreak.