The quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) get underway on Wednesday with eight teams still dreaming of lifting the trophy on July 19.
Egypt’s shock exit from the tournament in the round of 16 has left Senegal as favourites to win the tournament, but plenty of other teams harbour genuine hopes of coming out on top.
Read on as we preview the four quarter-final ties.
Senegal should progress to the last four
Senegal finished second in Group C before edging past Uganda in the last 16 and they will fancy their chances of beating Benin to progress to the semi-finals.
Liverpool forward Sadio Mane has been their standout performer so far, weighing in with three goals during the tournament.
Benin rode their luck in the last round to eliminate Morocco on penalties to reach the quarter-finals for the first time.
However, the majority of pundits producing NJ sports news and tips for the game rate Senegal as a banker bet to win the game and it’s difficult to argue with their view.
South Africa eyeing another shock
South Africa defeated Egypt to reach the last eight and they will be out to spring another surprise against Nigeria.
Thembinkosi Lorch’s goal stunned the hosts who were unable to break down South Africa’s stubborn defence.
Nigeria defeated reigning champions Cameroon in a five-goal thriller in the last round and are favourites to reach the semi-finals.
The Super Eagles should make it through, but it would be unwise to write off South Africa’s chances in this one.
Algeria set to march on
Algeria have won all four matches at the tournament so far and are yet to concede a goal heading into their quarter-final tie against Ivory Coast.
Les Fennecs were ruthless against Guinea in the previous round and with Riyad Mahrez in their side they have the touch of quality that every successful team requires.
Ivory Coast have been unconvincing during the tournament and it’s difficult to imagine them having enough quality to beat Algeria.
Senegal are worthy favourites to win this year’s AFCON, but Algeria are more than capable of giving them a run for their money.
Tunisia stumbling along nicely
Tunisia drew all three games during the group stage and needed penalties to beat Ghana in the round of 16.
They were unfortunate not win the match in normal time, but held their nerve to add to Ghana’s history of shoot-out woes at a major tournament.
Tunisia are extremely tough to break down and that quality should stand them in good stead now the tournament has reached the business end.
Madagascar have defied the odds to reach the quarter-finals, but Tunisia should end their run on Thursday.