Africa’s five representatives at next summer’s World Cup learned their group-stage fates on Friday, during the draw at The Kremlin.
There were differing fortunes for the continent’s quintet, with Africa’s five all being pitched in groups of significantly varied quality.
According to a recent Goal poll, Egypt are the African side who can be happiest with their draw ahead of next summer’s showpiece.
Indeed, while Hector Cuper’s side must square off with the hosts and the gritty South Americans, they can certainly take confidence from the fact that Russia and Saudi Arabia were the lowest ranked teams in their respective World Cup Pots.
With almost half of those who responded to our poll believing that the Pharaohs have the easiest draw of Africa’s five, don’t be surprised if Mohamed Salah and co. mark their return to the grandest stage of all after three decades away by advancing to the knockouts.
There was much Nigerian optimism after they were pooled alongside Argentina, Iceland and Croatia in Group D, and indeed, 31% of those who replied believe that it’s the Super Eagles who have the best draw.
Perhaps the West Africans have an exciting opening round, and an engrossing series of fixtures, but it’s hard to argue that they draw is ‘easier’ than either Egypt or Senegal, who came in third with 18% of the votes.
The Atlas Lions enjoyed great success during qualification, eliminating the Ivory Coast and keeping six clean sheets, but they’ll have to usurp two of Spain, Portugal and Iran in order to reach the knockouts.
It’s certainly a draw that will test Herve Renard’s significant tactical acumen.
Tunisia are arguably the weakest of the continent’s teams on paper, and surely they needed a fairly favourable first-round draw in order to progress.