Monday 8 July: 5pm KO
Live on EuroSport
62 must be a popula number in world football. Three countries share that FIFA world ranking and two of them take part in this match. Both of these sides have had success in the African Cup of Nations in the past but Mali are still looking for their first ever title.
It was 47 years ago that Mali appeared in their only African Cup of Nations tournament final. They lost to The People’s Republic of Conga in that final but it was a heartbreaking day for them. Mali led 1-0 in the first half but then conceded three goals in 16 second-half minutes, eventually losing 3-2.
Since that defeat, Mali have finished fourth three times and third in both 2012 and 2013. Their challenge hasn’t been so hot in recent years though and they failed to get out of their group in the last two tournaments without winning a match. This year has seen a stronger challenge though and Mali are 20/1 (21.0) to win this event.
They had a good group stage this year finishing top of the table by four points from Tunisia. Mali’s campaign got off to a great start with a 4-1 win over Mauritania (ranked 103rd in the world). They followed that up with a 1-1 draw with Tunisia, taking a second-half lead but that only lasted ten minutes.
That was a good point though against a side ranked 25th in the world. Mali won their final group game 1-0, this time beating 123rd ranked Angola 1-0. Now they are in the knock-out stages and you can get odds of 11/4 (3.75) at Bet365 on them beating Ivory Coast in 90 minutes
Their group win wasn’t too expected as Mali had gone three games without a win in the run-up to this tournament. They had been taking on tough opposition though with defeats by Algeria and Senegal but they did get a draw with defending nations Cameroon.
Ivory Coast last won the African Cup of Nations as recently as 2015. Their title defence two years ago wasn’t a successful one though. They drew two of their three games and ended in third place and failing to reach the knock-out stages. That ended a run of six tournaments in which they had reached at least the quarter finals. The odds on them winning this match to reach the last eight are 6/5 (2.2) at Ladbrokes.
They missed out on last year’s World Cup after qualifying for the finals of the previous three but still had a reasonably successful 2018. Ivory Coast lost their first two games played in January but then went undefeated in eight games.
They won their first three games of this year before a 1-0 defeat by Uganda last month. Ivory Coast bounced back with a 4-1 win over Zambia in their final warm-up game. The group stages began well for them with a 1-0 win over South Africa (who beat Egypt in the last sixteen). The next game saw them lose 1-0 to eventual group winners Morocco but qualification was assured with a 4-1 hammering of Namibia.
It was back in 1983 when Mali last recorded a victory over Ivory Coast. Since then there have been 23 games played with Ivory Coast dominating results. Two of the last three games have ended level though and it’s 15/8 (2.87) at Paddy Power that this match ends in a draw after 90 minutes. Three of the last five games have had under 2.5 goals scored in them. The odds on that happening in this game are 2/5 (1.4) at Coral.
Neither side have injury problems and could name unchanged teams for this last sixteen game.
Mali on Target Again?
Mali have scored in each of their last nine internationals. You can get odds of 4/6 (1.66) at BetVictor on them being able to score a goal against Ivory Coast.
Both teams are in decent form coming into this game. Ivory Coast have the better recent form but a 1-1 draw with Tunisia was a good result for Mali. The odds on a 90 minute draw with both teams scoring are 4/1 (5.0) at Betway.