Inspired by Morocco's historic run to the semi-finals at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, we have made a “Best African team at 2026 FIFA World Cup prediction”, where we analyse if any African team could go further than Morocco in the next tournament co-hosted by USA, Canada and Mexico.
Mighty Morocco to make history again?
Before Qatar 2022, no African team had reached the semi-finals of a World Cup. That curse was broken last December by Morocco, who by claiming some major scalps along the way, put African football firmly back on the map.
Even more impressively, they did so after being drawn in a group with Belgium, who had previously held the number one FIFA world ranking, and 2018 World Cup finalists Croatia. Completing the ensemble was Canada, who might have been seen as favourites for immediate elimination, but never looked out of place at their first WC finals in 36 years.
Morocco collected seven points and topped the group, with a 2-0 victory over Belgium their standout result.
In the last 16, they took former World Cup winners Spain to a penalty shootout, winning 3-0, and then beat a Cristiano Ronaldo-led Portugal 1-0 in the quarter-final. Unfortunately for them, Morocco eventually fell short 2-0 in the semi-final to France, and finished fourth after losing the third-place play-off 2-1 to Croatia.
Nonetheless, it was an inspired run from a team that mixed established stars like Achraf Hakimi with emerging talents like Azzedine Ounahi, with all credit to manager Walid Regragui.
How many African teams will qualify for the 2026 World Cup?
The 2026 World Cup will include the new expanded format of 48 teams for the first time, up from 32. This means that nine African teams will qualify for the tournament, up from five in Qatar, with a 10th potentially qualifying through an intercontinental play-off.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has changed its qualifying format as a result, with 54 teams split into nine groups of six, although it must be noted that Eritrea have recently pulled out. Whoever finishes top of each group will qualify for the 2026 World Cup, with the group draw being made in July.
Best African team at 2026 FIFA World Cup prediction – African Winner (E/W) odds
If any African team so much as reaches the final in 2026, they will already have broken new ground, while also producing a winning result in the each-way World Cup outrights market. The odds are, of course, very long – but every World Cup edition, without fail, has seen a surprise package emerge to take on the very best in the knockout phase.
Perhaps no surprises here, as Morocco have the shortest odds of any African team to win the 2026 World Cup. Their run to the semi-finals in 2022 is a clear contributory factor there. Famously, the competition is still yet to see a winner outside of Europe or South America since its first iteration in 1930, so it would be a huge upset to see an African team win it, as evidenced by the long odds here.
Algeria have the joint-second shortest odds of all African teams to win the tournament, despite not qualifying in 2018 or 2022. Of course, the expansion means they will have a greater chance of qualifying for 2026, and with recognised talents like Riyad Mahrez in the squad, they could repeat Morocco's heroics.
Nigeria have the same odds as Algeria, having qualified for the three previous World Cups before missing out on a ticket to Qatar 2022. Their attack would give any team in the tournament a run for their money, as it boasts Liverpool-linked Napoli superstar Victor Osimhen as well as Bayer Leverkusen's Victor Boniface and AC Milan's Samuel Chukwueze, among others.
The current African Cup of Nations (AFCON) holders, Senegal are perhaps surprisingly only the joint-third highest-rated African team with the bookies. They have qualified for the previous two World Cups, reaching the last 16 in Qatar, and boast star names like Sadio Mane and Nicolas Jackson in a strong squad.
Egypt were beaten in the last AFCON final by Senegal, and have historically been the team to beat in African football, after winning AFCON a record seven times. Liverpool's ‘Egyptian King' Mohamed Salah, who placed 11th in the 2023 Ballon d'Or, would likely spearhead the side in 2026 – even at the ripe age of 35.