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World Cup: All to play for in Africa and South America

There are five second-leg African World Cup qualifiers taking place on Tuesday, headlined again by Egypt against Senegal, while it's the final matchday in the South American qualifiers with three countries still in contention for an inter-confederation play-off spot.

(This article was originally published on 28.03.2022)

All to play for in Africa

All five ties in the Africa qualification fomat remain in the balance with three countries holding slender one-goal leads from the first leg, while the other two games are level.

The standout match is Egypt's trip to Senegal which is 1-0 in the Pharaohs' favour after an early own goal by Senegal's Saliou Ciss was the difference in the first leg.

The clash in Diamniadio, which gets underway at 18:00, is being billed as another battle between Liverpool team-mates Sadio Mane and Mo Salah and both will be hoping to do more in the second leg after the duo were both fairly subdued in the first meeting.

Senegal are 17/20 to win in the full-time result market, Egypt are 16/5 and a draw is 21/10.

Egypt likely to defend lead

Egypt are obviously in the better position to qualify and you would expect them to adopt a defensive approach in Senegal and protect the lead they have, something they are well versed in.

Carlos Queiroz's side got to the AFCON final earlier this year when scoring just four goals in the whole tournament and were winners on penalties in the semi-final against Cameroon after playing out a goalless draw before they lost out to Senegal in the final on spot-kicks after another 0-0 stalemate.

Revenge for that loss will also be on the minds of Salah and co but it would not be a surprise to see another low-scoring game with under two goals at 1/1.

Senegal also played out two goalless draws in AFCON and only a late Mane penalty in their group opener prevented another.
They did find their shooting boots with wins over Cape Verde (2-0) and Equatorial Guinea and Burkina Faso (both 3-1) as the tournament progressed but, interestingly, all but one of those goals in the knockout stage were scored in the second half.

Another betting angle to look at then would be the second half to be the highest scoring, which is on offer at 5/4.

Elsewhere, Nigeria host Ghana, with that tie 0-0 after the first leg, while Cameroon go to Algeria looking to overturn a 1-0 deficit. Nigeria are 10/11 to win their second leg in normal time, Ghana are 15/4 with the draw 19/10.

Algeria are 1/1 to win the second leg, Cameroon are 3/1 and the draw is 15/8.

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Osimhen could be key for Nigeria

Nigeria will hope to be able to call upon Victor Osimhen in their second leg to boost their chances of making it through but the Napoli striker, who has scored 15 goals in all competitions for the Italians this season, is reportedly an injury doubt after not training fully over the weekend.

The other two African qualifiers on Tuesday see Morocco hosting DR Congo, with that tie level at 1-1 from the first leg, and Tunisia are at home to Mali with Tunisia 1-0 up.

Morocco are 8/15 to win the second leg, DR Congo are 11/2 and a draw is 5/2, Tunisia are 13/10, Mali are currently 21/10 and a draw is 2/1.

There are five South American World Cup qualifiers scheduled for the early hours of Wednesday morning (UK time), with all games due to kick off at 00:30.

The top four automatic qualification places for Qatar in the CONMEBOL programme have already been sorted out with Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador and Uruguay all assured of their places in this winter's World Cup.

However, three countries are still fighting it out to finish fifth in the standings to secure a late shot at qualification via the inter-confederation play-offs, which will be played in June.

Peru, Colombia and Chile after play-off place

Peru currently sit in that coveted fifth place and they will stay there if they beat already-eliminated Paraguay but if they slip up then Colombia or Chile could take advantage. Colombia are just a point behind Peru and go to Venezuela, who are destined to finish bottom of the CONMEBOL table, on Tuesday, while Chile, who are a further point behind, host already-qualified Uruguay.

Peru are 1/2 to beat Paraguay, Colombia can be backed at 4/6 to beat Venezuela and Chile are 21/20 to win against Uruguay.

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