Morocco, Tunisia take different paths to WC

Posted November 13, 2017

Tunisia and Morocco have completed the roster of teams that would represent Africa at the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup.

In the 1990 World Cup UAE and Egypt qualified, in the 1994 World Cup Saudi Arabia and Morocco participated and in the 1998 World Cup in Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia were there.

The violence that broke out late Saturday in central Brussels after the qualification of the Moroccan national football team for the next World Cup injured 22 police officers, police told Belga news agency. If it qualified for the Russia World Cup, this would have been its fourth consecutive participation in FIFA's flagship tournament.

Nabil Dirar scored the opener in the 25th minute with an inswinging cross that went untouched through the box and entered the net.

A pair of quickfire first half goals fired Morocco to their first World Cup in two decades and condemned Ivory Coast to a defeat that means they will miss the showpiece event for the first time since 2002.

Despite needing only a point to qualify, the Atlas Lions weren't prepared to sit on a slender lead and doubled their advantage five minutes later when former Bayern Munich center back Medhi Benatia turned in a left wing corner.

Ivory Coast was already in decline after being eliminated by Renard and Morocco in the group stage of this year's African Cup, where the Ivorians were defending champions.

Tunisia booked their place in next year's World Cup finals after securing a point from a goalless draw at home against neighbours Libya on Saturday.

Had Tunisia lost, they would have ceded top place to DR Congo, who finished strongly to overcome Guinea 3-1.