With a break in proceedings today for the Women’s World Cup, the focus moves to Cairo and the opening match of the African Nations Cup between hosts, Egypt and Zimbabwe.
The tournament takes place against the backdrop of pyramids, sphinx and desert ruins since the Egyptians stepped in to host only 7 months ago, after original selection, Cameroon was deemed unprepared.
It will be a record-breaking fifth hosting of the event for The Pharaohs, who also hold hold the record for the most number of titles, seven.
They will be expected to open the tournament with a win at Cairo International Stadium, where they have not played for over two years. The sides have met four times (2-WCq, 1-AFCON, 1-Friendly) in the last 15 years, with Egypt winning the lot.
Certainly outsiders, Zimbabwe are talented, full of potential, and won’t be a pushover. They produced some decent performances in the same competition two years ago in Gabon, which saw them drawn in a group with heavyweights, Algeria, Senegal and Tunisia.
Elsewhere, in the Gold Cup, Group C leaders Jamaica and El Salvador go head to head at Houston Dynamo’s BBVA Compass Stadium. Jamaica will be favourites after their 3-2 success over Honduras, who should comfortably beat Curacao in the day’s other game. Earlier this year, El Salvador recorded their first win over Jamaica in 19 years, when winning 2-0 in the CONCACAF Nations League, but expect today to be a different story.
Further south Ecuador will hope to keep their Copa quarter-final hopes alive by taking something from their game with Chile in Salvador. Their returning coach Hernan Dario Gomez is already on record as saying his team are not ready for the Copa. The coach who took Panama to the last World Cup has made it quite clear that his priority is taking Ecuador to the next one, with the Copa serving as preparation.
Chile, 4-0 victors over Japan in their opening game, should consolidate top spot, two points clear of Uruguay who could only draw 2-2 with Japan, yesterday.
That leaves the UEFA u21 Championship, which leads to Olympic Games qualification for the four semi-finalists.
Two Group C games take place in Cesena, Italy and San Marino this afternoon. England are staring down the barrel of a gun after their late collapse against France, and must win against Romania to retain hopes of progressing to the semis. France, who overcame Phil Foden’s opener for 10-man England in the first group match with goals in the the 89th and 95th minutes, take on Croatia, who have already lost 1-4 to the Romanians.
Today’s Games (all EST) -
1230 - England u21 v Romania u21 - UEFA U21 Championship - UEFA TV, You Tube
1500 - France u21 v Croatia u21 - UEFA U21 Championship - UEFA TV, You Tube
1600 - Egypt v Zimbabwe - African Cup of Nations - DAZN, BeIN Sports Canada
1900 - Ecuador v Chile - Copa America - TSN2, TSN GO
1900 - El Salvador v Jamaica - Gold Cup - TSN.ca, TSN GO
2130 - Honduras v Curacao - Gold Cup - TSN2, TSN.ca