After last night’s disappointments from a Montrealer and Canadian perspective, three players from the Impact squad have an opportunity to partially lift the gloom for locals.
Michael Azira is first up of the three, in a huge game for him, when he’ll play in front of 75,000 in Cairo International Stadium, against hosts, Egypt.
Uganda are already assured of being one of the best-place third placed teams, so while defeat won’t be disastrous, a point, or more especially an unlikely victory, should technically guarantee a slightly easier task in the Round of 16. It looks however that The Crane’s next opponent will be one of the continent’s powerhouses, no matter the outcome of their tussle with Egypt, unless they win, in which case they could face beatable opposition.
At the same time the other group game will play out between Zimbabwe and DR Congo.
A win should guarantee a place in the Round of 16 for The Warriors, but should the decision go the other way, pointless DR Congo, must wait and see how other groups pan out, before they can take their place in the knock-out stages.
Prior to the Group A games, group B will conclude. Madagascar kicks off against Nigeria in Alexandria, at noon EST, while Burundi face Guinea at Al Salam.
A point will win the group for The Super Eagles and guarantee Madagascar second spot in this, their AFCON finals debut. No matter the outcome, the island nation is guaranteed a place in the Round of 16, courtesy of the 4 points earned so far. Guinea with a solitary point so far, must defeat another debutant nation, Burundi, to qualify for the knock-out stages.
Omar Browne will be hoping he’s done enough in Panama’s previous game against the United States to retain his place in the starting line-up for the quarter-final clash with Jamiaca, the first of this evening’s events in Philadelphia.
He clashed head on with Impact team-mate Daniel Lovitz in that game in Kansas City, and Lovitz too will be hoping he’s impressed US coach, Greg Berhalter, enough to retain his spot on the left side of defence. Fulham’s Tim Ream was preferred in the opening pair of games, and barring injury is likely to get the nod over the Montreal man.
Recent history would suggest Panama will prevail over Jamaica, who haven’t beaten Los Canaleros, since 2009. In the ensuing 6 meetings, Panama have won four.
It’s 35 years since the USA has faced Curacao, and while tonight may not yield the 4-0 outcome on that occasion, the Americans should still progress to meet the winner of the evening’s earlier quarter-final in Wednesday’s Nashville semi-final.
The last game we feature has the potential to be best of all today’s internationals. I have heralded the entertainment on view since this tournament began a couple of weeks ago in Italy, it’s been goals, goals, goals all the way. Germany u21, which has remained unbeaten throughout, take on a Spanish u21 side that started badly, but exploded into life to defeat Poland (two wins in two games before that) 5-0, then a strong French side 4-1 in the semi-finals.
Germany’s Luca Waldschmidt with 7 goals in his four matches is certain to win the top scorer award. He’s three ahead of his nearest challenger, and a player Spain will need to negate if they are to prevail. Spain’s goals have been spread across their talented squad with no fewer than 5 different players on two.
This one is a hard contest to call, but if in keeping with European u21 tournaments of the past promises plenty of thrills and spills before the champion is crowned.
Today’s Games & Where to Watch Them (all EST) -
1200 - Madagascar v Nigeria - African Cup of Nations - BeIN Sports Canada, BeIN SPORTS CONNECT
1200 - Burundi v Guinea - African Cup of Nations - BeIN SPORTS CONNECT
1430 - Spain u21 v Germany u21 - UEFA u21 Final - UEFA TV, YouTube
1500 - Uganda v Egypt - African Cup of Nations - BeIN Sports Canada, BeIN SPORTS CONNECT
1500 - Zimbabwe v Congo DR - African Cup of Nations - BeIN SPORTS CONNECT
1730 - Jamaica v Panama - Gold Cup Quarter-final - TSN2, TSN.ca, TSN GO, CONCACAF GO 2030 - USA v Curacao - Gold Cup Quarter-final - TSN2, TSN.ca, TSN GO, CONCACAF GO