One realistic aim for each African team at the World Cup

Mohamed Salah & Mahmoud Hassan GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images

Each of Africa's World Cup competitors will be dreaming of becoming the continent's fourth representatives to reach the quarter finals or even break the glass ceiling and make the final four ahead of the start of this summer's showpiece in Russia.

However, these aren't necessarily realistic aims for the continent's quintet, who face various obstacles - internal and external - as they look to go the distance.

In this feature, KweséESPN outline one realistic aim for each of Africa's five World Cup representatives.

Egypt: To be Africa's top scorers in Russia

The Pharaohs may appear well placed to escape from a favourable Group A and reach the Last 16, but considering they'll likely come up against either Spain or Portugal in the next round, the quarter finals may be beyond them.

A more realistic target for Hector Cuper's side, perhaps, is to end the tournament as Africa's highest scorers in Russia.

They're unlikely to face too much competition from their North African neighbours Morocco or Tunisia, and in Mohamed Salah, have the firepower to outgun both Nigeria or Senegal.

Beyond the presence of the fit-again Liverpool superstar, they've also been pitted against the two worst sides in the tournament, in Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Both, notably, have ageing defensive units, who may struggle to contain Egypt's talented offensive options, not to mention an in-form Salah coming off the back of a record-breaking season in the Premier League.

With a red-hot frontman and some feeble first-round defences, expect Egypt to top the continent's goal charts this summer.

Nigeria: To beat Argentina at the big one

A quarter-final berth isn't beyond Nigeria, although you suspect they'd need to top their group in order to avoid France in the Last 16.

What Gernot Rohr's side must surely be setting their sights on is a first-round victory against old foe Argentina.

The two sides have, remarkably, met four times before at the World Cup, crossing paths in 1994, 2002, 2010 and 2014, with the Eagles falling short on every occasion.

Their morale will have been boosted by November's come-from-behind 4-2 triumph over the Albicelestes in Krasnodar, and while the South American giants will be a different prospect in competitive action, they're still a team in disarray.

The Super Eagles may never have a better chance to halt their losing streak against Argentina, and if things go to plan in their opening fixtures, must back themselves to take all three points in their final group showdown in Saint Petersburg.

Tunisia: A first World Cup win since 1978

It's not impossible that Tunisia get out of the group stage of the World Cup at their fifth attempt, but with England and Belgium first out of the blocks, the Carthage Eagles are surely outsiders to make the Last 16.

More feasibly, however, they ought to aim to secure a first World Cup victory since their first appearance in the competition, way back in 1978.

That triumph over Mexico in the Eagles' first-ever World Cup match was as good as it's ever got for the North Africans at the grandest stage of all, and their record since makes for dismal reading.

In the intervening 11 matches, they've drawn four and lost seven, but a final group showdown with Panama offers them an ideal opportunity to end several generations' wait for a victory on the grandest stage.

Senegal: To emulate the class of 2002

The Lions of Teranga may have a few internal issues to iron out before the big kickoff, but they're arguably the best placed of Africa's five to reach the quarter finals.

They're a resolute unit with options across the park and, in Sadio Mane, a touch of class leading the line.

A favourable group means they can grow into the tournament, and Aliou Cisse's troops will be selling themselves short if they set their sights lower than anything but the final eight.

This would, of course, mean emulating the nation's Golden Generation of the 2002 World Cup, who stunned the watching public to reach the quarter finals, and becoming the first African nation to twice provide quarter finalists.

Morocco: To take a major scalp

The Atlas Lions may be Africa's most complete side heading to the 2018 showpiece, but a nightmarish first-round draw means that the Last 16 feels very far away for Herve Renard's side.

They'll fancy their chances, but realistically, reigning European sides Portugal and Spain - even on the brink of implosion - are likely to have too much talent and nous for the North Africans.

Nonetheless, this Moroccan side have the defensive rigour, the tactical nous and the grit to stifle either of the European heavyweights and take a major scalp.

That will surely be Renard's aim heading into the tournament, to secure the result of the competition and, maybe, become this year's giant killers.

If they do that, then an unlikely spot in the Round of 16 beckons...