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The 2010 qualifying picture

By Steve Vickers
BBC Sport

After a frantic four consecutive weekends of action in the combined 2010 World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, the picture as to which teams will reach the second qualifying stage is becoming clearer.

Senegal fans
Senegal lead Group Six, but fans cannot celebrate yet

The 12 group winners will progress, along with the eight best runners-up, who will be determined by a complicated formula.

The remaining matches in this phase take place in September and October.

Nigeria became the first team to reach the second group stage, and Burkina Faso need just a point in their next game to be certain of topping their group.

World Cup hosts South Africa seem to have a slim chance of taking one of the best runners-up spots.

Egypt, winners of the last two editions of the Nations Cup, are battling against DR Congo to win their group.

ALREADY QUALIFIED

With four wins from four games, Nigeria are in an unassailable lead at the top of Group Four.

OUT

Bad news for Tanzania, Mauritius, Seychelles, Djibouti, Lesotho, Niger and Mauritania. They are all out of contention, as they are mathematically unable to finish in first or second place in their groups.

Burundi are all but out, but still have a slender mathematical chance of qualifying.

ALMOST THERE

Burkina Faso's perfect tally of 12 points from four games means that they need only to draw at home to Tunisia in September to win the group.

If Tunisia fall short, they still look to have a good chance of taking one of the best runners-up places.

The unbeaten Ivory Coast need a draw away to Mozambique and a home win against Madagascar to be sure of winning Group Seven.

Cameroon are only a point ahead of Cape Verde, but the Indomitable Lions seem unlikely to surrender the lead in Group One.

ALL TO PLAY FOR

The rest of the teams have everything to fight for in their final two games in this group phase. Mali are looking in a strong position in Group Ten, with nine points so far.

Gambia supporters
Gambia fans are hoping to take a best runners-up spot

Group Two is wide open, with Guinea and Kenya on seven points. But Zimbabwe and bottom-placed Namibia can still qualify.

Group Three is going to be a three-way contest between Benin, Angola and Uganda, who have recovered from a poor start.

Ghana and Libya are tied in Group Five, and the clash between the two teams in Tripoli in September looks likely to be decisive.

Algeria will need to beat Group Six leaders Senegal at home if they are to take pole position, and The Gambia still have some hope of a best runners-up place.

Morocco and Rwanda both have nine points in Group Eight, and they both play Ethiopia and Mauritania to determine the outcome of the group.

All three teams in Group Eleven are very much in the picture - Swaziland, Zambia and Togo.

DR Congo and Egypt both have nine points in Group 12, with the two meeting in Kinshasa in September.

Malawi could still take one of the top runners-up slots.

ARE SOUTH AFRICA IN TROUBLE?

Very much so. Even if they manage to finish as runners-up, they must hope that Equatorial Guinea are not the bottom team.

This is because, to determine which of the teams that finish in second place will proceed to the next phase, results against the bottom-placed side will not be considered.

Of South Africa's four points, three came against Equatorial Guinea, and they meet again in October.

A home win against Nigeria is crucial for Bafana Bafana. Of course, they automatically qualify for the World Cup as hosts, but qualifying for the Nations Cup finals in Angola is vital in terms of preparing the team.


see also
2010 World Cup Qualifiers
22 Jun 08 |  African


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