Portugal and Ghana advance to FIFA World Cup as Egypt miss out to Senegal again in penalty thriller

Cameroon, Morocco, and Tunisia the other teams from Africa to qualify, while Poland will also be at November's men's football World Cup in Qatar. 

By Scott Bregman
Picture by OCTAVIO PASSOS

Senegal booked their spot at the FIFA World Cup 2022 on Tuesday (29 March), ending Egypt's qualification hopes in the process on a dramatic night.

It came down to a penalty shoot out for Senegal to beat Egypt in their African qualifying match and book their spot. The Senegalese won the second leg of their play-off 1-0, leaving the scores tied at 1-1 on aggregate and taking the game to penalties.

Liverpool's Mo Salah missed his spot kick for the visitors, while his club teammate Sadio Mané finished things off in the shoot out, sealing the 3-1 win on spot kicks and earning his nation a place at the men's World Cup. Mane had also scored the winning penalty against the Pharaohs as Senegal were crowned African champions in February.

Ghana earned their spot at the World Cup in Qatar thanks to away goals. They battled Nigeria to a 1-1 draw in the second leg of their play-off. Ghana's lone goal in Nigeria came at the 10 minute mark from Thomas Partey.

The 0-0 draw between Tunisia and Mali means Tunisia will head to Qatar later this year, while Morocco sealed their World Cup ticket with a commanding 4-1 victory (5-2 on aggregate) over DR Congo.

Of the five qualification spots available from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) on Tuesday, none had more late drama than Algeria against Cameroon. The tie was level at 1-1 on aggregate after the 90 minutes. Algeria went ahead in extra time, a goal from Ahmed Touba in the 119th minute put them in the driving seat with just one minute remaining.

But then in the fourth minute of injury time, Karl Toko Ekambi found the back of the net for Cameroon, making it 2-1 to the visitors on the night, 2-2 on aggregate, and giving Cameroon the final African berth to the World Cup thanks to their away goals.

There were also two play-off finals offering qualification spots from the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).

Bruno Fernandes scored both of Portugal's goals in a 2-0 win over North Macedonia to ensure Cristiano Ronaldo will get a chance to play at his fifth World Cup, while Poland also advanced, putting down Sweden 2-0.

Ten UEFA teams had already earned their spots in the World Cup: Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Serbia, Spain and Switzerland. One play-off remains in Europe, with Wales facing the winners of the postponed Ukraine / Scotland tie.

Earlier on Tuesday, the United Arab Emirates kept their hopes of world cup qualifying alive, by winning their final AFC group game. They'll now face Australia in June, with the winners taking on the fifth placed finisher in South America - Peru, for a place in Qatar.

Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, and Uruguay had already sealed the four automatic qualifying spots from the CONMEBOL region.

Iran, South Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and tournament hosts Qatar had already guaranteed their progress from the Asian region.

Canada are the only other team to have qualified for the tournament so far.

The FIFA World Cup is scheduled to begin on 21st November, with the final in Doha on 18th December 2022.

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