• 2018 WCQ - AfricanFootball looks at the permutations for Group C

    AfricanFootball.com takes a closer look at who needs what to secure qualification for the 2018 World Cup ahead of this weekend’s round of matches. Today we focus on Group C: Ivory Coast, Morocco, Gabon and Mali.

    Where and when are the games?

    Friday 6 October

    Mali v Ivory Coast - Stade du 26 Mars, Bamako - 21h00 CAT

    Saturday 7 October

    Morocco v Gabon - Stade Mohamed V, Casablanca - 21h00 CAT

    Who needs what to qualify?

    This one of the more open groups in the qualifiers and none of the four teams have been mathematically eliminated. In fact, leaders Ivory Coast cannot guarantee a place in Russia 2018 even if they win in Mali on Friday and the other game on Saturday between Morocco and Gabon ends in a draw.

    That scenario would see the Elephants lead by three points with one round to go, and would be the closest any of the teams can get to qualification in this round of games.

    What’s likely to happen?

    Tough to say, but given that Mali held both Gabon and Morocco to goalless draws in their previous home matches, it wouldn’t be stretch to imagine the Eagles frustrating the Elephants in Bamako on Friday night.

    This would open the door for Herve Renard’s Morocco to overtake his former team at the top of the log with a win at home to Gabon. The Atlas Lions recorded a 6-0 thrashing of Mali in their last home game and will believe a victory over the Panthers is well within reach.

    Whatever happens this weekend, we know that qualification can only be decided in the final round of matches next month, most likely in the showdown between Ivory Coast and Morocco.

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