On paper, it’s an open contest between Cote d’Ivoire Elephants and Algeria’s Les Fennecs. . Yje battle of the quarter final sees two previous champions locking horns on Thursday (11 July 2019) in Suez. The bets are open to the advantage of Algeria while Cote d’Ivoire does not seem to have said its last word.
In the third quarterfinal of the Total Africa Cup of Nations Egypt 2019, Les Fennecs of Algeria enter the game as favorites and their results speak for themselves. They achieved a flawless run by placing four wins on as many games with nine goals scored for zero conceded. Given this observation and just before the quarter-finals matches, Algeria is considered by many pundits as the best team of this AFCON so far.
On the other hand, Les Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire advance is a doubt. They started with a difficult 1-0 win over South Africa, lost by the same score to Morocco before producing their best performance in the 4-1 over Namibia. In the round of 16 against Mali, they were shaken for a long time before triumphing by a lone goal. Never mind, this Ivorian formation is still alive and is now targeting the final four.
And these are two formations that know each other well for having met seven times in AFCON finals and it started at the 1968 edition. At this level, it is the Elephants who have the upper hand with three successes against two for Les Fennecs and two draws. But, the reality is different today.
Algeria presents a complete and solid team on all lines. It has a very solid defense that has not yet cracked with a midfield where Adlane Guedioura, the handyman, defeats a titanic job supported by Captain Ryad Mahrez who knows how to vary the game, while Baghdad Bounedjah weighs a lot about the opposing defenses. The strength of Les Fennecs also lies in the depth of his bench where the young Adam Ounas, Islam Slimani or Andy Delort are able to do as much as the starters.
Meanwhile, Côte d’Ivoire has shortcomings in its defense corridors who are lacking offensive inspiration. They must often resort to the individual qualities of their attackers who do not succeed all the time.
But in knockout games, nothing is won in advance. And previous games have noted that there are teams that improve as the competition progresses. And favorite teams have paid the price.