Defenders book Morocco's place at World Cup

Esther Moore
November 12, 2017

Tunisia secured the draw it needed, 0-0 at home against Libya, to qualify from Group A and edge out Congo.

Morocco sealed its place by winning in Ivory Coast 2-0 in what was a straight shootout for the place from Group C.

Nigeria, Senegal and Egypt had previously sealed their spots in Russian Federation next year.

Libya had been forced to play all of their home games at neutral venues, including Tunisia, because of a Federation Internationale de Football Association ban on internationals in the country, where the security situation is judged unsafe for visiting teams.

Unbeaten Tunisia have been to four previous World Cup finals and were the first African country to win a game at the finals, in 1978.

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The Atlas Lions have qualified for the World Cup finals for the first time since 1998.

When captain Medhi Benatia swept home a corner just five minutes later, Ivory Coast were left facing a first missed finals since 2002. Before today's matches, Morocco had 9 points while the Ivorians had 8 points; meaning the victor of the match would qualify.

Ivory Coast manager Marc Wilmots has revealed that he was hoping to have Tiemoue Bakayoko starting in his midfield, but the Chelsea midfielder opted for France.

Tunisia's point ensures their fifth World Cup participation - and their first since 2006 - but ensures that the Democratic Republic of Congo's wait to return to the global showpiece for the first time since 1974 will continue. The Tunisians held on for the draw, though, and it turned out to be a precious point. Had Tunisia lost, the two teams would have finished level on points and goal difference and Congo would have taken the World Cup place for scoring more goals in the qualifying campaign.

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