19 - 11
By Guillaume Mahot
Now we do have everyone. Peru was the ultimate country to get qualified for the upcoming world cup in Russia this week, by eliminating New Zealand on last Wednesday. The international tournament, planned from June 14th to July 15th, currently counts all its members. After having determined the different pots, the group repartition will be decided next month: the drawing lots is to be held in Moscow (Kremlin) on 1st of December.
Africa will be defended by five teams: Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Nigeria and Senegal. Quite different from last world cup where we had Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Algeria, Nigeria and Ghana. Most of those teams were disappointing in qualifiers and left their place to new teams (Egypt, Morocco and Senegal look like brand new here).
Nigeria, led by Arsenal striker Iwobi, seems to be the most reliable squad amongst all five. Eliminated in 8th finals against France in the last world cup 2014 in Brazil (0-2), the Super Eagles beat Argentina of Lionel Messi 4-2 last weekend in a friendly game where Iwobi, Musa and Iheanacho were particularly bright.
This next world cup will be also highlighted by the fact that big teams will be missing: Chile, the United States and of course Italia, a premiere for Squadra Azzura since 1958! Italian coach Ventura was unable to make better than a draw 0-0 against Sweden in Milan, precipitating the end of Italia, whereas Sweden, without retired striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, gets qualified twelve years after.