Africa won three matches and scored 11 goals in this second day of the group phase. On the individual level, some African players have shone for the greater good of their selections. Sport News Africa brings you some lessons from this second day.
After a disappointing first day of the group stage, the African representatives were expected to sound the revolt in the second round. And to the delight of the continent, they have, with the exception of Tunisia surprised by an Australia largely within reach (1-0) and Cameroon who brought back a point from the unexpected draw against Serbia, raise their level of play to meet the two main challenges that were imposed on them to hope to keep their chance to see the eighth finals: score goals and win their first victories in the tournament.
Ghana had already lost against Portugal (3-2, 1st day group H), Senegal gave them the recipe for the second challenge. Winner of the host country, Qatar (3-1, group A), it was the first African selection to win in this 22nd edition of the World Cup. The Lions of Teranga were then followed by the Atlas Lions, who defeated Belgium (2-0, group F). The Ghanaians did not do worse. The Black Stars also got the best of South Korea (3-2, group H) to offer a third victory to the continent.
But beyond these long-awaited victories for the African representatives, several lessons can be drawn from this second day of the group stage.
Africa (finally) on the attack
Senegal, Tunisia, Morocco, Cameroon: none of these four African selections had found the net during the first day of the group phase. But inspired by Ghana, author of the first two African goals in this World Cup, the African representatives showed themselves much more ambitious offensively during the second day. This time, they managed to score eleven goals, with three goals for Senegal and as many for Cameroon and Ghana, but also two goals for Morocco. That is nine more than on the first day.
The awakening of Edouard Mendy (Senegal)
After a mediocre performance that cost his team a defeat against the Netherlands (2-0), Edouard Mendy redeemed himself well against Qatar. The Chelsea Blues goalkeeper gave a great performance against the host country to allow Senegal to take the three points in this match. Under fire since the beginning of the season, the former Rennes is reassured a little before the decisive clash against Ecuador Tuesday, November 29 at 16 hours (GMT).
A big and promising performance against Denmark to then collapse against an Australia largely within reach: Tunisia is undoubtedly the African selection which disappointed the most in this second day of group stage. The Eagles of Carthage have not been able to repeat their big game of the first day to overcome the Australians. And here they are obliged to beat France, the defending world champion, on the last day to hope to see the round of 16 for the first time in their history.
Hakim Ziyech, Walid Regragui, Morocco's X Factors
While no one was expecting them to be in the group of death (F), Morocco is, after two days, one point away from a qualification for the last 16. The Atlas Lions first took a valuable point of the draw against Croatia, vice-champion of the world, before mowing down the Red Devils of Belgium (2-0). This third victory in the finals of a World Cup for Morocco is particularly marked by two men: the coach Walid Regragui and the winger of the Chelsea Blues Hakim Ziyech.
The former has not only brought great confidence and stability to his team since his arrival last August. But he also succeeded in this match with a winning coaching, making decisive changes. The second one, very active on the right side, did a lot of harm to the opponent. He was responsible for the second goal of his team by offering a cake to Zakaria Aboukhlal.
Cameroon, a controversy and an unexpected draw
Beaten by Switzerland (1-0, 1st day), Cameroon, which had to react against Serbia this Monday, did not approach this match in the greatest serenity. For cause: the unexpected departure of Andre Onana from the Tanière. The Inter Milan goalkeeper would indeed have decided to leave his team in the middle of the competition after a disagreement with his coach Rigobert Song. In his absence, Devis Epassy was in charge of the Indomitable Lions' goal. But the goalkeeper of Abha (Saudi Arabia) was not as reassuring as Andre Onana. And Cameroon can even be happy to have obtained the point of the draw against Serbia.
Ghana can thank ... Kudus
After Senegal, Morocco, Ghana has obtained the third African victory in this World Cup 2022. The Black Stars came to defeat the South Koreans in a spectacular match. And they can thank Mohammed Kudus. The 22-year-old striker scored twice to give his team the victory. In addition to his two goals, Kudus was very active in the game. Ghana will be able to count on him for their reunion with Uruguay in the last game of Group H.