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Ivory Coast vs Egypt in AFCON on Jan 26. 2022 - Odds & Prediction

Ivory Coast vs Egypt in AFCON on Jan 26. 2022 - Odds & Prediction

Two of Africa’s continental heavyweights clash in the AFCON Round of 16, in a fixture that would most certainly have been more fitting as a tournament finale.

Ivory Coast were certainly the more impressive of the two sides during their respective group stage campaigns, amassing seven points from their three games, while a much more workmanlike showing from the Egyptians saw score just twice in three games on their way to second place in Group D.

  • Kindly note that all information in this preview, including whether or not the event will take place, is subject to change due to Covid-19.
MarketPrediction
Match OddsIvory Coast
bet365
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Ivory Coast To Win

It’s difficult to expect much of this Egyptian side, based on their showing in the group stage, with talisman and Liverpool star Mo Salah providing very little in the way of spark as his side qualified for the knockout stage in a rather lacklustre fashion.

Contrast that with an Ivory Coast side that scored six times in three group stage games, and there just appears to be a bit more class throughout the Ivorian squad this time around.

With that in mind, we’re pretty surprised to see Ivory Coast odds-against at 5/4 to win this one, but we’re expecting a tight game in Douala between two of the kings of the continent.

Ivory Coast Form, squad news, opinion

The Ivory Coast are always well fancied ahead of AFCON and their credentials were certainly boosted after they knocked out defending champions Algeria with a 3-1 victory last week.

One of the goal scorers in that one was AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie, who continues to attract attention from the best of the best around Europe as his San Siro contract edges closer to expiring.

The rest of the squad isn’t too bad either, with a whole host of familiar names from Europe’s top leagues, including five representatives from the English Premier League.

They also boast one of the most in-form strikers in world football in Ajax frontman Sebastien Haller, who has already notched up 23 goals for club and country, including a hatful of goals in the UEFA Champions League.

Egypt Form, squad news, opinion

They’re rarely great entertainers, so we haven’t come to expect plenty of goals from Egypt at past and present editions of AFCON>

But what The Pharaohs are good at doing is getting the job done when it matters. It certainly wasn’t an ideal start, but for Carlos Queiroz’s side there was enough margin of error to lose their opener against Nigeria, if it meant they won their next two games to qualify for the knockout stages.

And that’s what they did. Mo Salah came to the fore with the winner against Guinea-Bissau, before they edged Sudan in their final group stage came to end the campaign on six points from three.

But if you’re planning an Over 2.5 goals bet for this one, you’ll probably be left disappointed. Egypt are notoriously robust, with all of their last five games being settled by just one goal.

You certainly can’t discount their chances, especially when you consider Salah’s form for Liverpool, but against an Ivory Coast side with the bit between their teeth, we think they’ll just be edged out in Cameroon.

History

Egypt certainly had the head-to-head advantage before the turn of the Millennium, winning all seven encounters between 1970 and 1987, but it’s been a much more even affair since the year 2000.

It’s four wins apiece this century, but Ivory Coast’s last victory over Egypt in a competitive game came all the way back in 2005, during World Cup qualifying.

Their last meeting was almost a decade ago, with Ivory Coast emerging 4-2 winners from a low-key friendly.

About the Venue

These two will meet at the Japoma Stadium in the Cameroonian city of Douala, the largest city in the west African country.

Neither side have played in this stadium so far, but Ivory Coast will be in more familiar surroundings, having played all three of their group games in the city, with Egypt spending their group stage campaign nearly 1,400km away in Garoua.

COVID-19 has been handled in an understandably strict fashion by the AFCON tournament organisers, but both sides are expected to field full-strength sides for this one.

Conclusion

It’s always risky betting against the most decorated nation in African football, but Egypt have flattered to deceive so far, and with some extensive travel ahead of them to make the game, that should give the Ivory Coast an extra edge.

There just appears to be a few more goals in this Ivorian side. Haller, Nicolas Pepe, Wilfried Zaha and Maxwel Cornet are all dangerous operators and we think that will be the difference-maker on Wednesday night.