What Impact Will The World Cup Have On African Football
The 2022 World Cup has finally come to an end, with Argentina claiming a third victory in the most dramatic of fashions against France. It was a treat for all football fans around the world and was a typical conclusion to the tournament, which had been outstanding in quality throughout.
However, one of the biggest stories at the World Cup this year was the success that Morocco enjoyed in Qatar. The nation made history by reaching the semi-finals, becoming the first African nation to achieve that feat. But, could other nations from the continent look at that success and dare to dream of replicating a run to the semi-finals, or potentially going better and winning the prestigious honor?
Morocco Memorable 2022 World Cup
Aside from Argentina, one of the best-performing nations at the 2022 World Cup was Morocco. Many of the leading best African sports betting sites didn’t expect the African nation to have much of a chance, but they excelled throughout the competition. The draw was unkind to Morocco, as they were paired alongside two of the four World Cup semi-finalists from 2018. However, they were excellent when beating Belgium, and they played out a comfortable 0-0 draw against Croatia.
However, Morocco’s World Cup journey really picked up a head of steam when the knockout round got underway, as they captured the imagination of not just the whole of Africa, but also were supported by the host nation. They continued to impress defensively against Spain, as they played out a 0-0 draw before winning from the spot. However, they still needed to overcome the challenge of Portugal to break new ground.
The semi-finals have been a benchmark that all African nations have looked to break in recent history, as no side from the continent had ever reached that stage. However, Morocco finally managed to break that duck in Qatar, as they recorded a stunning 1-0 win over Portugal in the quarterfinals. That success enabled the whole continent to dream that an African nation could in fact win the prestigious honor.
Those dreams ended in the final four, as France used all their big-game experience to land a 2-0 win. However, Morocco did have their chances in that fixture to land a blow on the reigning world champions, and there was certainly disappointment after the match. Still, Morocco eventually finished fourth at the World Cup after their 2-1 defeat against Croatia in the third-place playoff. That still signals the best performance by an African nation in World Cup history, and the day of a World Cup win for the continent may be edging closer.
Maiden African Success Edging Closer
Many believe that it is only a matter of time before an African nation finally wins the World Cup, as there have been some incredible performances from teams from the nation in recent history. However, if they are going to go to the next level, then the Morocco template will likely have to be followed. The nation has done an incredible job at bringing talent, with the Moroccan national academy at the root of every success that they achieved in Qatar.
The nation spent over $13 million developing the academy in 2010 after falling behind many other nations in the continent after the 1998 World Cup. It was clear how successful this academy has been in the growth of Moroccan football in the semi-final against France, with four players in that squad coming through the ranks at the academy.
That includes one of the star performers from the World Cup, Azzedine Ounahi, and the match-winning hero against Portugal, Youssef En Nesyri. Bringing through exciting players and developing them with the national side in mind should be the target of every African nation over the coming years, especially if they dream of going deep at the World Cup in 2026.
Many experts have believed for a long time that the first World Cup success for an African nation is coming, and Morocco’s displays in Qatar only add fuel to that fire. This is every African football fan's hope and aspiration. There is still a difference between the African nations and the teams from Europe and South America in terms of attacking quality, but defensively they are now able to stand up to the very best.
Further development of young players will only aid their chances of winning the World Cup, and it would be impossible to bet against a nation from Africa to win the prestigious honor in the next 40 years.