Morocco book World Cup place for first time in two decades

Morocco, Tunisia qualify for Russia 2018 World Cup

Morocco, Tunisia qualify for Russia 2018 World Cup

Tunisia guaranteed top spot in World Cup qualifying Group A and secured their ticket to Russian Federation despite being held 0-0 at home by Libya on Saturday.

Unbeaten Tunisia, who have been to four previous World Cup finals and were the first African country to win a game at the finals in 1978, were denied a fifth win in six group matches as Libya's goalkeeper Mohamed Nashnush made a number of key saves.

Morocco and Tunisia have joined Nigeria, Egypt, and Senegal as the African teams who will be playing in the World Cup this summer.

Morocco was topping its group before flying to Ivory Coast.

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West Africa has dominated Africa's contingent at the World Cup in recent years but some of its big names missed out this time: Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Ghana, all African champions multiple times, won't be in Russian Federation.

Tunisia last played at the World Cup in 2006.

But after weathering an early storm, including a potential penalty call, Morocco scored two goals in the space of five minutes to put themselves on their way to the finals, where their last appearance was in France in 1998.

Morocco needed just a draw, while Ivory Coast needed an outright win.

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Achraf Hakimi had the first real opportunity for the visitors in the sixth minute, but the Real Madrid defender's shot from the edge of the box sailed over the bar.

That result eliminated the Ivorians from the tournament in Russian Federation in 2018, while Tunisia also qualified at the expense of DR Congo. The Tunisians held on for the draw, though, and it turned out to be a precious point.

It was unspectacular, but it got the job done and ultimately progressed with a one-point buffer after a late flurry helped DR Congo beat Guinea 3-1 in the group's other match.

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