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After the group stage, changing of the guard in football

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Sports Lounge in Panseke

Soccer isn’t described as ‘the beautiful game’ for nothing.

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In Qatar, they have thrown everything that is beautiful into the game: drama, scares, suspense, surprises, tears (of joy and defeat) and football of all colors, from the good to the ugly.

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The only thing missing from Qatar 2022 is a dull moment!

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I am really enjoying the championship even though it is the downloaded version on the big screens at the Sports Lounge in Panseke, Abeokuta, which has been shown every day since the championship started.

The African teams, for the most part, are on my mind.

Tunisia already went home at the end of their group matches, but not without the scalp of defending world champions France, whom they defeated 1-0 in a huge upset in their last game.

Senegal is the first African country to qualify for the knockout phase playing fluid, pure and fast-paced attacking football typical of West African countries.

They carry on a great legacy: they reached the quarter-finals in 2002 and were knocked out in the group stage in 2018 by default alone, with a recently introduced ‘fair play’ rule.

They were tied with Japan on points, goal aggregate, head-to-head and the final qualifier was the team that committed the fewest fouls during the first round.

Senegal now seems to know how to play better at this level.

With a bit of luck, and with the depth of talent in the squad, they can make it deep into the final stages of Qatar 2022.

Morocco is the second African country, after Senegal, to qualify for the group of 16.

They led their group with well-deserved victories over Belgium, the second highest ranked team in the Championship, and Canada.

They are the only African country that has invested the most in infrastructure development and national technical programs.

The Atlas Lions are playing with passion, determination and a level of tactical discipline that is not very common in African football.

They will be a tough nut to crack for all the teams that play them.

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