With just two matchdays remaining in the third and final round of African qualifiers, a clearer picture is emerging as to who will be boarding the plane to South Africa next summer. FIFA.com takes you through the groups to see who has missed out and who still has qualification in their sights.
Which teams are already through?
With four wins out of four, seven goals for and none against, Ghana’s progress in this third qualifying round has been flawless. With qualification secured, the Black Stars can now aim to build on their debut performance at Germany 2006.
Which teams are out?
Still winless after four games, Rwanda (Group C) and Sudan (Group D) are no longer in the running for the big event in South Africa. Despite faring somewhat better, Mali and Benin are in the same situation in Group D, as are Guinea and Malawi in E.
Group A: This is by far the most open of the five groups with all four teams still in with a shout, although Cameroon are in the driving seat after their recent back-to-back wins over second-placed Gabon. If they beat Togo, and Morocco win in Gabon on the next matchday, the Indomitable Lions will join Ghana in the finals. For the other three teams, their fate is out of their hands.
Group B: Two solid performances against main rivals Nigeria (0-0 in Rades and 2-2 in Abuja) mean that Tunisia will qualify if they record a home win against Kenya in October and Nigeria fail to beat Mozambique. The Super Eagles will need to win their two final matches and hope other results go their way if they are to finish top.
Group C: Twenty-three years after their last FIFA World Cup appearance, Algeria have never been closer to a return to the world stage. With an unblemished home record (three wins out of three), the Fennecs need only to better Egypt’s result on the next matchday to wrap up qualification. Failing that, all will be decided when they face off against the Pharoahs in November.
Group D: With Ghana safely through, all that remains is for Mali, Benin and Sudan to battle it out for second place in the two outstanding rounds of fixtures.
Groupe E: Although qualification is not yet a mathematical certainty, with 12 points out of 12, Côte d’Ivoire have done all the hard work. A single point from their two remaining games, in Malawi and at home to Guinea, will be enough to see the Elephants through, four years after their maiden FIFA World Cup.
What about second and third place?
This last round of qualifiers in Africa doubles as the qualification tournament for the 2010 African Cup of Nations. The top three teams in each group will book their passage to the finals in Angola in January, just a few months before the FIFA World Cup itself kicks off. Algeria, Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire are already assured of a place, while the others still have everything to play for in the last two matchdays.
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Will Egypt, winners of the past two CAF African Cup of Nations, miss out on FIFA World Cup once again?