And we’re down to four.
The 2013 Africa Cup of Nations semifinals have been set after Nigeria shocked Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso outlasted Togo on Sunday.
The two national sides join Mali and Ghana, who already punched their ticket to Wednesday’s semis after winning their respective quarterfinals matchups on Feb. 2.
Cape Verde, the South African hosts, Togo and Ivory Coast failed to advance after the closely contested quarterfinals weekend.
Now that the table has been set, when and where are these teams going to battle it out for a shot at the AFCON cup?
I’m glad you asked.
Here’s a schedule, a look at each contest and a prediction for these semifinals matches.
AFCON Semifinals Schedule
Mali vs. Nigeria
Where: Durban Stadium, South Africa
When: Wednesday, Feb. 6, at 10:00 a.m. ET
Mali is a technically sound and well-rounded club that doesn’t hit the net frequently but can control the pitch and dictate matches as a result.
Nigeria, though, has a talented side that’s full of goal-scorers who can and will explode at any given time. Inconsistency has plagued the club in the past, but they are playing to the top of their potential right now.
Mali’s soft spot is its goalkeeper. That hasn’t burned them too badly to this point, but it could be the breaking point against the young and aggressive attack of the Super Eagles.
In the end, Nigeria’s excellent young strikers will get the better of their adversaries to earn their nation’s place in the AFCON finals.
Prediction: Nigeria 2, Mali 1
Burkina Faso vs. Ghana
Where: Mbombela Stadium, South Africa
When: Wednesday, Feb. 6, at 1:30 p.m. ET
Ghana has a talent-rich club that is getting by without stars Michael Essien and Andre Ayew. That hasn’t hurt them yet because they have plenty of other Premier League talent on their squad.
The Black Stars are unbeatable when playing to their potential and will need to be firing on all cylinders to get past their next challenge in the semis.
Burkina Faso are talented too, but are not as efficient and consistent on the pitch as Ghana. The club is full of talented players, but they haven’t lived up to their calling yet.
A surprise win over Ghana would certainly be a signature win for the club, but we don’t see that happening in this year’s cup.
Prediction: Ghana 3, Burkina Faso 1
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