The final two Round of 16 Africa Cup of Nations games are set for Monday and by the end of the day the final eight teams vying for the 2019 AFCON title will be known. Group D runners-up Ivory Coast takes on Group E winners Mali and then Group F winners Ghana take on Group E runners-up Tunisia.
Below are my two best bets for the Round of 16 Africa Cup of Nations games.
Ivory Coast (+125) vs Mali (+260): Draw (+190)
The Ivory Coast are through to the Round of 16 after a 2-1 group stage that saw them produce one surprising loss. Ivory Coast started the group stage with a 1-0 win over South Africa, then lost to Morocco 1-0 before finishing the group stage with a 4-1 win over Namibia. The two-time AFCON champions will be competing in their 14th knockout stage at this tournament.
Mali are through to the Round of 16 after an unbeaten group stage. Mali opened the tournament with a 4-1 win over Mauritania, then drew 1-1 with Tunisia before rounding out the group stage with a 1-0 win over Angola. Mali are appearing in the AFCON knockout stages for the sixth time in their nation’s history and, interestingly, every time they have made it to this stage they have at least made it to the semifinals.
I like the Ivory Coast to get through to the quarterfinals.
These two nations have met nine times in the past and it is the Ivory Coast that holds a 6-2-1 advantage. The two last played in a World Cup qualifying game, back in 2017, when the two nations played to a 0-0 draw.
Ghana (+140) vs Tunisia (+240): Draw (+179)
Ghana enter the Round of 16 on the heels of one win and two draws during the group stage. Ghana opened their tournament with a 2-2 draw against Benin, then drew 0-0 against Cameroon before ending the group stage with a 2-0 win over Guinea Bissau. The four-time AFCON champions will be making their 18th appearance in the knockout stages of this tournament.
Tunisia are through to the Round of 16 after a very quiet unbeaten group stage. The Tunisian’s started their AFCON campaign with a pair of 1-1 draws, against Angola and Mali, before playing to a 0-0 draw in their final group stage game against Mauritania. The 2004 AFCON champions will be making their 13th knockout stage appearance at this tournament.
I like Ghana to get through to the quarterfinals.
These two nations have met 17 times in the past and it is Ghana that holds a 10-3-4 advantage. Ghana have won the last two meetings, but the nations have not met since a 2013 friendly.
YTD Soccer Results: 120-118