Football: Algeria, best African team in 2021

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The Algerian football team celebrate their victory in the Arab Cup final in Qatar on December 18, 2021.

Between the qualifying matches for the African Cup of Nations (CAN) and the 2022 World Cup, friendly matches and regional tournaments like the Arab Cup, the African selections were very busy in 2021. The World Africa reveals its ranking, which we can compare to that of the International Football Federation (FIFA), where Senegal is still considered the best team in Africa ahead of Morocco and Algeria.

Unbeaten for 33 matches, Algeria has fulfilled all its objectives. She qualified easily for CAN in Cameroon, where she will be able to defend her title obtained in Egypt in 2019, but also for the third round of the World Cup qualifiers – not without difficulty this time – to the detriment of tough Burkina Faso. Faso. And his A ‘team, largely reinforced by several African champions including Raïs M’Bolhi, Yacine Brahimi and Baghdad Bounedjah, won the Arab Cup. The Fennecs have confirmed their rank, always with this concern to practice attacking football, as evidenced by the large victories obtained recently against Botswana (5-0), Djibouti (8-0) and Niger (6-1).

Like its Algerian neighbor, Morocco ended the year without losing a single match. Sometimes sluggish at the start of the year, the Atlas Lions showed a much more attractive face during qualifying for the World Cup, where they had a perfect run against Guinea (4-1, 3-0) , Sudan (2-0, 3-0) and Guinea-Bissau (5-0, 3-0). In Cameroon, Vahid Halilhodzic’s players will logically be considered as candidates for the continental title, a status that the coach assumes.

The only major footballing nation in Africa to have never won the CAN, Senegal will have the means to achieve this goal during the Cameroonian edition. Without always shining, but showing real power, the Teranga Lions have never really suffered in 2021. Qualified with ease for the CAN and the play-offs for the World Cup, they have only known only one hitch in Thiès against Eswatini (1-1) during the CAN qualifiers – a misstep, however, without consequences.

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The Carthage Eagles may well have reached the final of the Arab Cup – where they lost to Algeria (0-2) – and validated their presence in Cameroon as well as in the third round of qualifying for the World Cup , the supporters and part of the press are demanding the departure of the coach, Mondher Kebaier. Despite criticism of the quality of the game played by his team, the technician was confirmed in his duties. Imperial at home in 2021, Tunisia has however shown some weaknesses on the move.

By dismissing Côte d’Ivoire, an opponent yet considered superior, from the path leading to the 2022 World Cup in a decisive match in Douala, on November 16 (1-0, after 1-2 in the first leg) , the Indomitable Lions achieved one of the major performances of the past year. This success probably allowed their Portuguese coach, Toni Conceiçao, regularly criticized, not to be sacked before the CAN, organized from January 9 to February 6 by Cameroon.

The Pharaohs have lost only one match in 2021, but not the least important: against Tunisia (0-1) in the semi-final of the Arab Cup. Mohamed Salah was absent and Egypt does not exude the same power when the Liverpool star fails. Apart from this meeting, the six-fold African champions left little chance for their opponents, especially during the second round of qualifying for the World Cup, leaving Gabon seven points behind them.

Unlike most of the teams that make up this top 10 African selections, Mali does not have any international class player in its workforce. But that did not prevent the Eagles from shining in 2021, especially during qualifying for the World Cup. Unable to host in Bamako, the Malians played their six away games without conceding a single goal.

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Even if it experienced a big air hole in Lagos by losing to the modest Central African Republic in October (0-1), Nigeria can hope to play its seventh World Cup finals in 2022. But it will be without Gernot Rohr: the Franco-German coach was sacked a month before the start of the CAN even though he had achieved all his goals.

Eliminated by Cameroon in the second round (0-1), Côte d’Ivoire will not play the 2022 World Cup, after having already missed that of 2018. A major failure for the Elephants and their French coach, Patrice Beaumelle, who will still be in charge during the CAN. Without this failure, the Ivory Coast, which had almost achieved a faultless, could have appeared in the top 5 of this ranking.

The Stallions can boast of having caused trouble for Algeria until the last day of qualifying for the World Cup. Forced to win in Blida on November 16, the Burkinabés could not do better than a draw (2-2) against an opponent they had already held in check two months earlier (1-1) . But they paid a heavy price for the draw conceded against Niger (1-1) on the fifth day.

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Football: Algeria, best African team in 2021

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