The Africa Cup of Nations wraps up this week and the third/fourth place playoff will be played today when Tunisia takes on Nigeria. Bet on the match here.
Odion Ighalo v Youssef Msakni
Nigeria will look to Odion Ighalo for goals with the striker on course to finish as top scorer. He has four goals in the competition and is expected to trouble the Tunisian backline. Nigeria know how to pack a punch going forward and Ighalo has been more than capable of leading the line. This ultimately cost them against Algeria, but we don’t expect them to abandon the style that has served them very well during this year’s tournament.
Youssef Msakni has been Tunisia’s best player in Egypt and he is often the outlet for the team on the left. With support from Anice Badri and Naim Sliti, the Tunisians should have enough quality to get the better of the Nigerian defence. Tunisia have been quite reserved in their matches so far, but their 3-0 win over Madagascar in the quarter-finals shows that they have what it takes to take on any side.
Nigeria’s attack v Tunisia’s defence
Nigeria have been entertaining to watch in their last few outings in this competition as they beat Cameroon 3-2 and South Africa 2-1 to reach the last four. They are one of the few sides who are ready to push forward and play with an open style. While we have seen a lot of drama in Egypt so far, there has not been many high-quality games although this promises to be a cracker going by what we have seen since the knockouts for Nigeria.
Alain Giresse has a well-drilled squad and he will be looking to push the Super Eagles as much as he can in the race for third place. They have not been winning many games as they would like but they have been very strong in defence. They were able to go unbeaten through the group stage, drawing every game as they secured a spot in the last 16. They drew their fifth game of the tournament when they met Senegal at the weekend and we can expect more of the same here.
From a historical perspective, this is probably one of the most difficult fixtures to call as both teams have some quality, but none has clearly been ahead of the other. This is such that, out of the last seven encounters between the two there have been six draws and one win for Nigeria, way back in 2000. This should play into the minds of the Nigerian players who are keen to keep the bragging rights and the Tunisians who are desperate to prove a point.