Guinea have endured a long wait to appear at a FIFA World Cup final tournament, having been excluded for political reasons ahead of Korea/Japan 2002 when they looked well placed to book a ticket. They have not come as close since, though they finished second in their group for Brazil 2014 after a campaign full of promise for the future.
In recent years, Guinea have emerged as a highly competitive force on the African continent. They reached the quarter-finals of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations on three consecutive occasions during the 2000s and returned to the last eight in 2015, leaving them hopeful of pushing on to the next level. The fact that most of their players turn out for European clubs has only aided their progression.
Frenchman Luis Fernandez boasts solid pedigree as a coach and considerable World Cup experience from his playing days. He represented Les Bleus with panache at the 1982 and 1986 editions, making him the perfect figure to inspire the players under his wing.
2 – Guinea lost a mere two games on the road to Brazil 2014, going down on both occasions to an Egypt side that had to work hard for those victories en route to topping their group with six wins from six.
The former stars
Aboubacar Sidiki 'Titi' Camara, Pablo Thiam