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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Nigeria and Ghana advance to CAF group stage in World Cup qualifying

Ivory Coast players celebrate during their win against Liberia.

Nigeria advanced to the third round of African qualifying for the 2018 World Cup with a 2-0 win over Swaziland on Tuesday.

After a goalless first leg, the Super Eagles finally found a breakthrough in the 52nd minute when Moses Simon curled in a free kick.

Nigeria allowed the visitors few chances from that point and doubled their advantage with Fefe Ambrose's free kick in the 87th minute.

Phumlani Dlamini was sent off in stoppage time for Swaziland as Nigeria reached the group stage.

Ghana also moved...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana all draw as Cape Verde fall in World Cup qualifying

African giants Nigeria, Senegal and Ghana were all held to draws away from home as their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaigns got off to shaky starts.

All of the African sides must get through a two-legged tie before reaching the group stage, and many of the major sides failed to gain an edge in their away legs on Friday.

Senegal needed to rally from a two-goal deficit to force a 2-2 draw at Madagascar, a nation 79 places below them in the FIFA rankings.

Faneva Andriatsima and Njiva Rakotoharimalala...

Charting Mauritania's rise in African football

Mauritania have climbed a remarkable 117 places in the FIFA rankings since 2011.

There was a time when the idea of a Mauritanian national football team was little more than a myth.

Between 2009 and 2011, the national side played just one match -- a friendly against Palestine which ended in a goalless draw -- and tumbled to 206th on the FIFA rankings.

At least Mauritania knew the only direction they could really move in was up.

Four years later, they have climbed 117 places, 48 of them have come in the last year alone, and can count among their triumphs a former continental champion,...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

South Sudan's World Cup dreams end in African qualifying

South Sudan's first World Cup qualifying campaign ended early following a 4-0 defeat at Mauritania on Tuesday.

Moulaye Khalil and Boubacar Beyguili had already scored for the hosts before Aluck Akeuch Deng's 79th-minute red card for the new nation, and Moussa Samba Moussa and Ismail Diakite completed the rout.

Mauritania won 5-1 on aggregate and advance to face Tunisia in the second round of qualifying in November.

Chad advanced on away goals despite a 2-1 defeat at Sierra Leone, a team 54 places...

South Sudan begin first World Cup qualifying campaign with draw

South Sudan earned a draw in their World Cup qualifying debut, holding Mauritania 1-1 on Thursday, a day after the game began and was then abandoned because of heavy rain.

The score was unchanged from when it was stopped after 10 minutes of play on Wednesday at the National Stadium.

Boubacar Bagili had scored in the third minute for Mauritania. Dominic Abui Pretino equalised with South Sudan's first goal in World Cup qualifying, giving the world's newest nation hope ahead of the return leg in Mauritania...