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Morocco, Tunisia take different paths to World Cup

Morocco, Tunisia take different paths to World Cup

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.

Morocco needed only a draw from their final Group C game to finish top of the standings in the African preliminaries, ahead of the Ivorians, who had to win to clinch a fourth successive World Cup finals appearance.

Morocco qualified on Saturday after defeating the Ivory Coast 2-0.

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

The win takes Congo up to 13 points, but Libya's failure to beat Tunisia means they end the campaign tantalisingly one point short of the North Africans.




Morocco and Tunisia became the final African nations to qualify for the 2018 World Cup as both countries ended long spells away from the finals.

Tunisia finished a point clear of DR Congo, who were seeking a first trip to the finals since 1974 when they played as Zaire, to achieve their own fifth World Cup qualification. In case of qualifying to the World Cup in Russian Federation, each player will receive $ 100,000.

Nabil Dirar eventually opened the scoring for the Lions of the Atlas on 25 minutes with a long range effort that found the bottom corner, 0-1. The failure to reach the World Cup after being ever-present since 2006 will put pressure on coach Marc Wilmots.

Tunisia finished top of the group on 14 points, just one point ahead of second-placed Congo Democratic Republic who defeated Guinea 3-1.

After weathering an early storm, including a potential penalty call, Morocco scored two goals in the space of five minutes.

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