The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations finally got under way in 2022 with Cameroon hosting the tournament and winning group A despite a 1-1 draw with Cape Verde. The most surprising result of the group stage was Equatorial Guinea’s 1-0 win over African champions Algeria who finished bottom of group E and moved rapidly down the football rankings after losing 3-1 to Ivory Coast having drawn blanks against Sierra Leone in their first match. Comoros progressed from group C after a 3-2 victory over Ghana that sent the Black Stars home while in group D Nigeria finished top having defeated Egypt 1-0 in the opening match. Gambia made it through to the next round with honours, having picked up a stunning 1-0 win over Tunisia who scraped through group F to knock Nigeria out with a single goal only to fall to Burkina Faso by the same scoreline in the next round. Zimbabwe lost 2-1 to Malawi and reversed the result against Guinea but finished bottom of group B that was won by Senegal who scored their only goal of the group from the penalty spot deep into stoppage time against Zimbabwe in the first match of the group. The Senegalese, who without the late penalty conversion against Zimbabwe would have finished bottom of their group, went on to defeat Cape Verde 2-0 in next round before celebrating 3-1 victories over Equatorial Guinea and Burkina Faso that took them to the final where they got the better of Egypt in a penalty shootout after a goalless 120 minutes.
While the Africa Cup of Nations was taking place, several World Cup qualifiers were played. In South America, Bolivia who were trashed 4-1 in Venezuela returned home to lose 3-2 to Chile while the Venezuelans travelled to Uruguay where they were taken apart 4-1 and in North America El Salvador scored twice in Honduras while Costa Rica held their Mexican hosts to a goalless draw and in Asia Vietnam celebrated a 3-1 home win against China.