‘Disastrous’: Senegal exit caps worst World Cup for African teams in 36 years

28 Jun, 2018 19:32
‘Disastrous’: Senegal exit caps worst World Cup for African teams in 36 years
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© Carlos Garcia Rawlins / Reuters

African nations have suffered their worst World Cup in more than three decades after Senegal’s group stage exit left the continent with no representatives in the knockout stage for the first time since 1982.

Senegal suffered the agony of failing to progress due to having picked up more yellow cards than Japan, after the pair finished level on points and goal difference following the last round of Group H action on Thursday.

It’s the first time the ‘Fair Play’ rule has ever been used, and means that Senegal join fellow African nations Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt and Nigeria in packing their bags after the group stage.

Africa will not have a representative in the World Cup knockout rounds for the first time since Spain in 1982.

The continent’s best result at a World Cup came in South Africa in 2010, when Ghana reached the quarter-finals, losing to Uruguay on penalties after a controversial game which had seen them miss a late penalty to win the game deep into in extra-time.

African nations’ record at Russia 2018 (not including Tunisia’s final group game) reads played 14, won two, drawn two, lost 10.

The results prompted much soul-searching among social media users, as well as demands for answers as to what was behind the slump in Russia.

Nigeria had been minutes from progressing at the expense of Argetina as they held Lionel Messi and Co. at 1-1 in their Group D finale on Tuesday, only to see Marcos Rojo step up with a late winner to send the two-time winners through. 

READ MORE: Messi & Rojo exorcise World Cup demons as Argentina progress to last 16 

Some felt that poor refereeing decisions had cost the teams, although they ultimately reflected on the lack of talent in the African ranks.

Others felt that African teams needed to change their mentality when approaching football's biggest stage.