Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Pharaohs reign in Africa

The 2008 Africa Cup of Nations took place in Ghana January 20th to February 10th. The hosts who were in group A, kicked of f the tournament against Guinea and had to rely on a last minute screamer from Sulley Muntari to earn 3 points with a 2-1 win. Namibia fell apart against Morocco losing 5-1 with Aloudi grabbing 3 in the first half, but showed much improvement in their next matches losing only 1-0 to Ghana and earning a point in their 1-1 draw against Guinea who had already overcome Morocco 3-2. The Moroccans found themselves packing their bags after losing 2-0 to Ghana who progressed with full points along with Guinea.
In group B after beating Nigeria 1-0, Ivory Coast found the going easy and topped the group with 4-1 and 3-0 victories against Benin and Mali respectively. Mali who drew 0-0 with Nigeria, lost out to them on goal difference and were eliminated despite bagging 4 points along the way.
In group C Egypt began the defence of their title with an impressive 4-2 win over Cameroon and went on to win the group despite a 1-1 draw against Zambia. After their disappointing defeat to Egypt, Cameroon came back to thrashed Zambia 5-1 and put 3 past Sudan without reply. Sudan who lost all 3 matches 3-0 were the only team, together with group B losers Benin, to finish without a single point.
In group D the decisive matches were played on the 2nd day when Tunisia and Angola triumphed 3-1 over South Africa and Senegal respectively. All the other matches in the group were drawn, leaving Tunisia ahead of Angola by virtue of goals scored.
The quarter-finals saw the dreams of Guinea shattered 5-0 by the Elephants of Ivory coast, while the Super Eagles of Nigeria flew home after losing 2-1 to hosts Ghana. The Pharaohs of Egypt continued their path with a 2-1 win over Angola, and the indomitable Lions of Cameroon needed extra time to overcome Tunisia 3-2.
In the semi-finals Egypt demolished 2006 finalists Ivory Coast 4-1, and Ghana reached the end of the road losing by a single goal to Cameroon.
Ghana picked up the consolation prize of third place with a satisfying 4-2 win over Ivory Coast.
Egypt lifted the trophy with Aboutrika scoring the only goal of the final against Cameroon.
Full match reports and pictures can be enjoyed at:

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The beginning of 2008

The year started with several friendly matches leading up to the Africa Cup of Nations and the February 6th international day. Puerto Rico started the year well, with 2-0 and 1-0 wins away to Bermuda followed by a 2-2 draw at home to Trinidad & Tobago who continued to be disappointing, as did Kuwait who played 5 matches including a 2-0 loss to Singapore before losing a World Cup qualifier by the same score line. In other qualifiers, Syria managed a 0-0 draw in Iran who have yet to score this year, while Asian champions Iraq drew their home match against China 1-1 on neutral soil. North Korea and Bahrain registered 1-0 wins away to Jordan and Oman respectively. In CONCACAF Belize enjoyed a 3-1 win over St Kitts & Nevis in Guatemala, while Netherlands Antilles returned from Nicaragua with a 1-0 win and St Lucia suffered a surprising 2-1 defeat away to the Turks & Caicos Islands.
In some of the friendly matches Poland beat the Czech Republic 2-0 in Cyprus, while Croatia lost their unbeaten home record 3-0 at the hands of the Netherlands. Latvia had an impressive 3-1 win away to Georgia, and Honduras scored twice without reply at home to Paraguay.
Germany were to highest team in the Rankings to move after their 3-0 win away to Austria while Norway enjoyed the same result at home to Norway.