Nigeria, whom I had written off for as done as a bad 419 scam, received some serious help from a suddenly inept Mali, and will now move forward. Ivory Coast took care of the business as expected. Nigeria will party on tonight, more out of relief than joy.
(SSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images)
Nigeria 2-0 Benin Benin was the team that was expected to not do well, but they just played all around poorly. Nigeria’s first goal was a nice header at the end of a broken play following a free kick. Great finish, and you could see them gettting would up. Their second goal and they knew they had it in the bag. Nigeria now goes on to play host Ghana.
Ivory Coast 3-0 Mali Mali just screwed the pooch here. They played a great attacking game against Nigeria, and were able to keep them down. Perhaps Ivory Coast is just that good. Drogba got the party started for Ivory Coast with a nice clinical example of beating the defenders and then the keeper. But it was the header by Zorro on a corner kick that got the whole team celebrating. And the party was on. Ivory Coast goes on to play Guinea.
Cameroon v Sudan, C, 17:00
Egypt v Zambia, C, 17:00
Sudan is effectively out, but they can play the spoiler in this match if they can defeat Cameroon (unlikely, but nothing is unlikely). They need to play to win. Egypt is at the top of the table, but they still are not safe. A tie rolls them in easily, as does a win. A loss could backfire on them if Cameroon also wins. Three teams fighting for two spots. The conventional wisdom is that Egypt and Cameroon will advance, but I’ve been wrong before.
In other news, the family of Ghana’s striker Gyan has received death threats over the quality of his play. The 22 year old missed a few chances in the earlier matches, and was booed lustily. He will need all the help he can get when Ghana goes after Nigeria.