By Bryan Zarpentine @BZarp on April 17, 2014
The 2014 World Cup is an opportunity for the African sides to assert themselves on the big stage. None of the five African teams participating in Brazil this summer have been drawn into a easy group, but all of them will have a fighting chance to advance to the knockout stage. Here is a ranking of the five African nations stack up with one another heading into the 2014 World Cup.
The Algerians bring back some experience from the last World Cup, although they were held scoreless in all three of their matches in South Africa four years ago. Algeria doesn't have an imposing schedule during the group phase, but they may not have the quality on the attack to score enough goals to advance to the knockout stage.
It's been more than two decades since Cameroon's magical run in the 1990 World Cup, but they have a side that has a chance to make some noise in Brazil this summer. Behind veteran striker Samuel Eto'o, a World Class goal scorer, the Indomitable Lions look like a team that can put the ball in the back of the net, giving them a chance to snag second place in Group A and advance out of the Group Stage.
The Super Eagles are the reigning African champions, and they gained some invaluable experience playing in Brazil during the Confederations Cup last summer, but they are far too unpredictable. Nigeria has a deep and talented contingent of attacking players, and that makes them a team to be reckoned with, but being able to put it all together and play well enough over three matches to get out of the group stage is an uncertainty for the Eagles.
Ghana has one of the best midfields of any side in the world, and their skill and athleticism in the attacking third of the field can be downright frightening for opponents. They're an older team, which could hurt them, but they bring back a lot of experience from two successful World Cup appearances in 2006 and 2010, making Ghana a contender to go deep if they can make it out of the Group of Death.
The Ivory Coast tends to underachieve in major tournaments, but that doesn't change the fact that they have the best collection of talent of any African team, led by forwards Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou and midfielder Yaya Toure. This is the last chance for this generation of players to make their mark on the world stage, and with a manageable group and a wealth of talent, the Elephants are the most likely African side to make a deep run.
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