As the Africa Cup of Nations enters its semifinal stage, the world has already been able to pinpoint the biggest winners and losers from the most important soccer tournament in Africa—and one of the most important in the world.
Here are the biggest surprises—both good and bad—from the Africa Cup of Nations.
The Malian goalie stole the show in the Eagles’ quarterfinal victory over South Africa. Diakité showed great athleticism to block two of Bafana Bafana’s penalty kicks and send his squad to the semifinals, where they will face Nigeria.
The penalty kicks weren’t Diakité’s only moments of brilliance in the tournament, though, as he has proved to be a very solid goalkeeper throughout the Cup. Look for him to be scouted by European teams sooner rather than later.
Remember when Drogba was scoring at will in Chelsea and seemed unstoppable? What happened to that guy? We miss him.
Drogba looked awfully human in this African Cup of Nations, only managing to score one goal in four matches and being unable to prevent his Cotê d’Ivoire from exiting in the quarterfinals.
Didier Drogba will go back to China, where he can earn his millions, while we soccer fans reminisce about the good old days when he was a force to be reckoned with in the world of football.
Fun fact: Burkina Faso failed to get past the group stage in the Africa Cup of Nations between 2000 and 2012.
So maybe that stat isn’t that fun for the Burkinabé, but at least it shows how impressive it is that this team has made it all the way to the semifinals. Even more impressive, they managed to get the first seed in a group that featured Nigeria and beat a good Togo team in extra time in the quarterfinals.
The road ahead certainly isn’t easy, as they prepare to face Ghana. The Ghanaians have scored eight goals in four games and only suffered two—both in the first game of the Cup. That means Ghana’s goalkeeper hasn’t allowed a goal in for over 300 minutes now.
Burkina Faso may just be the team to end the impressive mark, as their own Alain Traoré leads all Cup scorers with three goals.