Preview: Angola makes their World Cup debut after a tight qualification campaign where they dethroned African power Nigeria 2-1, on aggregate.  Angola is a fairly large southern African nation of 12 million.  Colonized by Portugal in 1575, Angola didn't win independence until 1975, and is one of the five countries where Portuguese is the official language.  Today many of the players on Angola's national team play for Portuguese clubs, and coach Luis Oliveira Gonclaves is Brazilian.  Two of Angola's strikers, Fabrice "Akwa" Maieco and Pedro "Mantorras" Manuel played for Benfica, and the team overall has a lot of experience playing with each other internationally.

Interestingly enough, Angola's first tournament match is against Portugal, which should be a very important game for the whole nation.  Whatever the outcome, participating in the big tournament should be a big boost for Angola's fans.

Result: Angola lost 1-0 to Portugal in the first match, but managed to pull off two draws against Mexico and Iran.  They lead briefly against Iran, and had they been able to hold on for the win they would have been tied with Mexico on points and goal differential.  The high point of Angola's campaign was the performance of unheralded goalkeeper Joao Ricardo who stopped 33 out of 35 shots on goal.

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at World Soccer Shop
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$69.99
at Subside Sports (UK Store)
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39.99
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