Odds of an African World Cup victory now hinge on the performance of five teams after Cameroon was eliminated in the first round. The highest ranked African team missed its last opportunity to advance past the group stage after giving up an early lead and losing 1-2 to Denmark.
The five remaining African teams are South Africa, Nigeria, Algeria, Ghana and Ivory Coast. South Africa’s chances of advancing on its own turf are slim, especially since it no longer controls its own destiny. A 3-0 loss to Uruguay has put the team at a serious disadvantage. In order to remain in the competition South Africa needs to dominate France with a 3-0 victory and hope that Mexico loses to Uruguay and concedes at least two goals.
Despite losing its first two matches, Nigeria still has a chance of advancing to the next round. If favorite Argentina wins its next match against Greece and Nigeria manages to beat South Korea, the team can secure a spot in the next round.
Algeria’s chances also remain fairly open. If the team can pull off a win against the United States, it could advance, unless Slovenia defeats England. Ghana was the first African team to qualify for the Cup and is currently first in its group standings. The Black Stars only need a tie against Germany to qualify for the second round, but if they lose they have to hope that Serbia doesn’t beat Australia.
Ivory Coast carries the flame of African victory for many football fans, but it faces difficult opposition in its next two matches. The team has to either beat or tie the top-ranked Brazilians and defeat last place North Korea to advance. The Elephants may still have a chance to secure a victory for Africa however. Their scoring star Didier Drogba is likely to start against Brazil after seeing only limited action against Portugal because of a recent injury.