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Africa misses out on first World Cup semi-final spot

Africa misses out on first World Cup semi-final spot

Nigeria and Algeria have failed to set up an all-African quarter-final fixture that would have seen an African team in the semi-final of the World cup for the first time after the two teams were eliminated in the second round stage of the ongoing finals in Brazil by France and Germany respectively on 30 June.  (Photo: Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi steps down as Nigeria exited the World Cup)

The two teams should have played each other in the quarter-final stage on Friday at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro had both won their respective fixtures.

This means Africa has no more team left in the World Cup in Brazil as Nigeria and Algeria were the continent’s last hope following the exit of three other teams Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Ghana in the group stage.

Nigeria’s Super Eagles held on for longer period but paid the price for two late mistakes in the final 11 minutes to lose 2-0 to France while Algeria lost 2-1 to Germany in extra time after it finished goalless at the end of regular time.

Juvnetus midfielder Paul Pogba gave France the lead as he headed into an empty net after the Nigerian goal keeper Vincent Enyeama had misjudged Valbuena’s corner.

An own goal by skipper Joseph Yobo sealed the victory for France and denied Super Eagles their world cup first quarter-final place

Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi resigned his post after the defeat and Joseph Yobo, Nigeria’s most capped player retired from international football after 100 appearances including his ten matches in three World Cup tournaments in 2002, 2010 and 2014.

After an impressive performance in regular time, the tiring Algeria players were no longer able to sustain the pressure from an all-out attacking German side in extra time.

Andre Schurrle put Germany ahead two minutes into extra time as he finished off a low cross from Thomas Muller before Metzul Ozil added the second with a heavy shot from the box in the 119th minute.

Substitute Abdelmoumene Djabou volleyed home to reduce the scores to 2-1 a minute into stoppage time but there was no time left for a comeback.

Despite the defeat, a rapturous home welcome awaits Algeria for making history by progressing beyond the group stage of the World Cup for the first time.

A quarter-final place for Super Eagles to equal the record of Senegal, Cameroon and Ghana should have been more appreciated by Nigerians as the second round stage is the farthest they have reached in their five appearances

Credit: Sports Writers Association of Sierra Leone (SWASAL) & www.sierraleonefootball.com
Sponsors: Mercury International Limited & www.sierraleonefootball.com

By Mohamed Fajah Barrie in Sao Paulo, Brazil

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