South Sudan’s Remarkable Journey to the World Cup 2023
South Sudan, a young nation of about 11 million people that gained independence in 2011, made history by qualifying for the World Cup for the first time in their debut appearance in the Africa qualifiers. They stunned the continent by topping both the first and second rounds, beating more established teams like Nigeria, Mali and Rwanda.
They faced a tough challenge in Group B of the World Cup, where they met Serbia, Puerto Rico and China in Manila. Despite being ranked 62nd in the world, they showed their fighting spirit and almost pulled off an upset against Puerto Rico, losing by just five points in overtime, 101-96.
They then achieved their first World Cup victory by defeating China, who were ranked 42 places above them, by a convincing margin of 89-69. They could not repeat their feat against Serbia, who were ranked sixth in the world and eventual champions, and lost 83-115.
Although they did not advance to the second round and had to play for the classification places, South Sudan had a memorable World Cup debut and gained valuable experience for the future.
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