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Cape Verde back in race to World Cup

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Cape Verde's football players are pictured at the end of the African Cup of Nation quarter final on February 2, 2013 in Port Elizabeth. Cape Verde are back in the race for a 2014 World Cup place after FIFA punished Equatorial Guinea for twice using an ineligible player against them. (AFP/File)

Cape Verde are back in the race for a 2014 World Cup place after FIFA punished Equatorial Guinea for twice using an ineligible player against them.

The islands state lost 4-3 away and won 2-1 at home this year in Group B against the Equatoguineans, who fielded Emilo Nsue in both games although he was not eligible.

A FIFA statement this weekend said Cape Verde had been awarded two 3-0 wins, moving them within two points of final-round opponents Tunisia, who will enjoy home advantage in the September fixture.

But the communique did not explain why Nsue, who has represented his native Spain at age-limit level and scored a hat-trick against Cape Verde in Malabo, should not have played.

Tunisia, who believed last month that they had reached the two-leg play-offs to decide the five African qualifiers for the 2014 Brazil tournament, can still advance by winning or drawing.

However, a victory for 2013 Africa Cup of Nations surprise package Cape Verde would lift them to the top of the table and into the 10-country final qualifying phase.

The 'Blue Sharks' shot to international prominence this year by finishing ahead of Morocco and Angola in a Cup of Nations group to reach the quarter-finals, and pushing Ghana hard before suffering a 2-0 loss.

Equatorial Guinea are the sixth African country after Sudan, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Ethiopia and Togo to be declared 3-0 losers for fielding ineligible players in World Cup qualifiers.

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