Thursday, 23 November, 2017

BREAKING Tunisia qualify for 2018 World Cup

David Ramos  Getty Images Sport World Cup qualifying: Morocco knock out Ivory Coast to break 20 year drought
Angelica Greene | 12 November, 2017, 01:09

Morocco captain Medhi Benatia was on target in a 2-0 over Ivory Coast to book their spot in Russian Federation.

Needing only a draw to qualify for next year's Russian Federation finals, two first-half goals from Nibal Dirar and Juventus defender Mehdi Benatia ensured the Atlas Lions a World Cup spot.

Nigeria, Senegal and Egypt had previously sealed their spots in Russian Federation next year.

Morocco needed only a draw in their last group game to finish top of the standings ahead of the Ivorians, who had to win to clinch a place in Russian Federation.

Tunisia also qualified on Saturday after drawing 0-0 with Libya.

The Ivorians continued to pressurise the visitors with 10 minutes to play but they lacked the sense of urgency for a team that needed three goals in the remaining minutes to qualify.

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The 2004 African champions have now qualified for their fifth World Cup (1978, 1998, 2002, 2006).

Morocco's win in Abidjan gave coach Herve Renard success over his former team and the country he led to the African Cup title in 2015.

Dirar's in-swinging cross beat everyone and found the corner of the net in the 25th minute.

Ibenge's side will look back at their double header against the Tunisians, when they enjoyed the better of both contests but only took one point out of a possible six, as the reason why they will be watching on from the outside next summer.

Tunisia finished on 14 points in Group A of the African preliminaries, one ahead of the Democratic Republic of Congo, who fell short despite a 3-1 win over Guinea in Kinshasa at the same time.

Morocco completed the campaign without conceding a goal, finishing on 12 points, four ahead of the Ivorians.

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