Run with Eric + World

Come on, come on. Come on, come on. Come on, come on, Gabon

So, tomorrow's football.

For those caring less about England's friendly with Brazil and more about a game that actually matters, the eyes will presumably be swivelling towards the first leg of Europe's final World Cup qualifiers, and specifically Ireland vs France. Can the Irish overcome the former world champions to reach the finals in South Africa? Was it right for the play-offs to be seeded so they had such a tough game? And is there any basis of truth in this exchange at all?

Elsewhere in Europe, Ronaldo's Portugal have a tricky encounter against Bosnia-Herzegovina, erstwhile European champs Greece look to restore some pride against the Ukraine and Russia take on Slovenia.

But to be honest, I don't care. Because tomorrow, World Cup history could be made in a completely different part of the world. So does anyone know a pub anywhere in the UK that will be showing Togo vs Gabon?

After an epic two-year tournament, the African qualifying stages come to an end tomorrow with a flurry of teams trying to book a last-minute berth. Some of the big names are through (Ghana; Cote d'Ivoire); some are not (Nigeria and Egypt both need to win and hope results go their way).

The biggest fixtures, though, come in Group A - the Group Of Death.

Only one of the group's four teams can make the World Cup Finals, and three qualify for the African Cup of Nations. So when Gabon, a medium-sized west African country with around a million and a half inhabitants, none of whom have played in the World Cup Finals before, drew in their group Cameroon (featuring Samuel Eto'o, traditionally Africa's best team), Tunisia (regular qualifiers) and Togo (uh, Emmanuel Adebayor), it's fair to say they had the shortest odds on making neither tournament.

But amazingly, Gabon have a real chance. A chance to stop the likes of Samuel Eto'o and Alexandre Song playing on the world's biggest stage. A chance to stop Morocco even playing in the relatively minor African Cup of Nations.

A chance for this group of amateurs and semi-pros, whose most well-known player is probably Daniel Cousins of Hull, to play in the World Cup Finals for the very first time.

All the Black Panthers need to do is to beat Togo - which they did 3-0 at home - and hope Cameroon manage only a draw away to a Morocco team they couldn't beat on home turf. Gabon may need a result to go their way, but success is within their grasp.

So if you see me in a pub in Portsmouth tomorrow only keeping an idle eye on the England or Ireland game while frantically refreshing my phone's internet browser, you'll know why. I'll be keeping tabs on a team on the brink of making history.

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