It all comes down to this.
On Monday, plenty will be at stake for Group B teams trying to advance to the Africa Cup of Nations. Ghana has the best shot to advance—the Black Stars may move on even if they lose—facing a Niger team that is at the bottom of the group and may not advance even with a win.
Meanwhile, for Mali and DR Congo it is pretty simple—win and move on. Actually, for Mali it's even simpler than that, but we'll get into that below.
Nothing is better than a final day in a group when all four teams have something at stake. Buckle in, folks—Monday in Group B promises to be a wild ride.
|Niger vs. Ghana||11:50 a.m. ET||ESPN3|
|Congo DR vs. Mali||11:50 a.m. ET||ESPN3|
What's At Stake?
For Ghana, a win guarantees that the team will finish atop the group, while a draw will send them into the knockout stage. (Technically, a one-goal loss to Niger and a Mali and DR Congo draw would also see them through to the next round.)
For either Mali or DR Congo, a win will guarantee they move on to the knockout stage, while a tie will send Mali into the next round.
If Niger wins, things get tricky. Essentially, the best scenario for Niger is to win and hope that Mali and DR Congo do not draw. If Mali and DR Congo do draw, Niger must either score or win by two goals to advance.
Phew. Got all that?
It's hard to imagine Ghana failing to earn at least a tie against Niger. The Black Stars are the most talented team in this group, and I think they'll go out in style, winning the game 2-1.
Meanwhile, needing to play only for a draw will benefit Mali. The Eagles will be tested by DR Congo, but in the end I think they'll hold on to a 1-1 draw, advancing to the knockout phase.