The 2021 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) is down to its final four teams! Burkina Faso, Senegal, Egypt, and Cameroon are still alive fighting to be Champions of Africa. The semifinals take place this Wednesday and Thursday, and the third-place game and Final take place on Sunday. It’s time for the frantic finish of AFCON 2021.
Three of the final four nations left came into the tournament as favorites to make the final. Senegal, Cameroon, and Egypt all have the talent, skill land grit to get the job done. Burkina Faso is the one outlier from this group. They are a true Cinderella story in this tournament; could these underdogs make it all the way to the final, and possibly lift the cup? Let’s take a look at the semifinal matchups to get a better idea of who could make it to the final, and who will play for the less exciting third-place game.
Burkina Faso vs Senegal
Burkina Faso’s run to the semifinals has been one to watch. They won once, lost once, and drew once in the group stage to take second in Group A. In the Round of 16, they faced Gabon and had to go to penalties to decide if they’d move on or go home. They won that penalty shootout 7-6 to get to the quarterfinals. Burkina Faso met Tunisia in the quarter-final, they created more chances and converted one just before halftime which proved to be the winner. Now they head to the semifinals to take on the pre-tournament favorite to win; Senegal.
Senegal, the pre-tournament favorites to win it all, went undefeated in the group stage. In the Round of 16, they easily defeated Cape Verde 2-0. Heading into the quarterfinals, they had yet to lose or concede a goal. They faced Equatorial Guinea and got off to an early lead, but they would concede early in the second half. For the first time a team struck against Senegal, but that didn’t dampen their spirits. Senegal went on to score two more times to secure their place in the semis to play Burkina Faso.
Senegal is obviously the overwhelming favorite in this match. Will we see them control everything vs Burkina Faso? Or could the underdogs beat the undefeated team? The first 20 minutes of this one should be very telling as to who will win this one and move to the final!
Cameroon vs Egypt
The hosts of the Tournament Cameroon had an undefeated run in their group stage to win Group A. In the Round of 16, they faced off against a depleted Comoros side and won 2-1. As they moved on to the quarter-finals to face Gambia, they came out and dominated the match. It showed in the overarching stats, and too on the scoresheet. Cameroon scored two second-half goals to cruise to the semifinals where they’ll face Egypt.
Egypt is a good team, but not necessarily a great one. They took second place in their group after winning two matches and losing one. All of those matches were 1-0 matches. In the Round of 16, they faced the Ivory Coast, and they needed penalties to decide who went to the quarterfinals. Egypt made all five pens to advance, while the Ivory coast missed one. In the quarterfinals Egypt leaned on their star Mo Salah, he scored in regulation and assisted on the game-winning goal in a 30 minute extra time period. They move on to the semifinals to face the hosts of the tournament.
Who will come out on top? Will it be the hosts and the hosts Cameroon and golden boot leader Vincent Aboubaker, or will it be Egypt and their world-class star Mo Salah? The crowd will be behind Cameroon, but they are anything but solid in defense, could Egypt’s attack take advantage of those flaws, or will Cameroon keep the ball away from Egpyt’s attack which always seems to be led by Salah? This one should be a match for the ages!
Who will make the AFCON Final?
Will we have a final between favorites Cameroon and Senegal? Will Egpyt continue their run with Mo Salah to the final? Or will Burkina Faso get to the final match against all odds? We’ll have to watch to find out!
Semifinal one is Burkina Faso vs Senegal; that match will be played Wednesday at 2:00 pm EST. Semifinal two is Cameroon vs Egpyt; that match will be played Thursday at 2:00 pm EST. Don’t miss the action.
BeIn Sports is broadcasting the tournament in the states so be sure to take a look if your provider has that channel. This should be some fun soccer, don’t miss out on the action!
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Mandatory Credit: PHILADELPHIA UNION, ANDREW ZWARYCH