Ghana and Algeria booked the final two places on offer for African teams at next years FIFA World Cup™ finals by respectively eliminating Egypt and Burkina Faso. The Black Stars and Fennec Foxes join the west African trio of Nigeria, Cameroon and Côte d’Ivoire, who already made sure of their tickets for Brazil on the weekend. All five countries also represented their continent at the last finals in South Africa.
Black Stars shoot to Brazil
Ghana did most of the hard work in the first leg, beating Egypt 6-1 and could thus afford a 2-1 defeat in Cairo in the return leg to advance 7-3 on aggregate. Playing their first home game in Cairo in front of spectators of the campaign, Amr Zaki in the first half and Gedo in the second, scored for the Pharaohs, while substitute Kevin-Prince Boateng killed things off late in the game for the Black Stars.
Some 20,000 fans, most of them wearing the red and white colours of the Pharaohs and waving Egyptian flags, watched in the 30 June Stadium as Egypt were the better side throughout, but they were never really in with a chance of getting the five-goal victory they needed. Had they managed the spectacular turn around, it would have been one of the biggest comebacks in sporting history. At the end of the game, the Ghanaian players celebrated and danced in front of several hundred fans, who had flown in on a charter early Tuesday morning and who created a festive atmosphere throughout the game, beating drums and singing.
Foxes sneak past the Stallions
In the later game Madjid Bougherra was the hero for his side as Algeria prevented a west African sweep, overturning a 3-2 deficit from the first leg in Ougadougou against Burkina Faso. The former Rangers defender scored the only goal of the game shortly after the restart after a goalmouth scramble to send the Fennec Foxes through on the away-goal rule after the tie finished 3-3 on aggregate.
The victory in Blida was the tenth World Cup qualifier in a row that Algeria have won in the town at the base of the Tell Atlas.