11:00 ET Canada-USA | 11:00 Cairo Local Time
Jean-Jacques Ngambo Ndala (DR Congo)
Egypt will take on Ivory Coast at the Japoma Stadium in Douala, Cameroon.
The Pharaohs can boast of a proud Nations Cup record against Cote d’Ivoire, whom they overcame en route to three out of their last four triumphs.
In 1998, Egypt defeated the Elephants on penalties following a 0-0 draw in the quarters before they met twice in the 2006 edition.
Egypt won their group-stage clash against Cote d’Ivoire 3-1 in Cairo before beating them again in the final, also on penalties, following a goalless draw.
They also met in the semis of the 2008 edition, with a star-studded Ivorian side led by prolific striker Didier Drogba overwhelming favourites at the time to take revenge.
However, Egypt keeper Essam El-Hadary, now the team’s goalkeeping coach, pulled off a string of impressive saves and his team proved clinical on breakaways to claim a memorable 4-1 victory.
Egypt had to fight hard to bounce back from a disappointing start to the tournament, and they did. It began with a 0-1 defeat to Nigeria, with Leicester City forward Kelechi Iheanacho the man to settle it.
It was Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah, the Premier League’s top scorer at the moment, who brought back hope for the Pharaohs as they triumphed 1-0 over Guinea-Bissau in the second round, before defender Mohamed Abdelmonem, playing for Egyptian side Future FC, secured the three points against Sudan to send his team through to the knockout stage.
Egypt are the most successful nation in this competition with seven trophies to their name, but the last one came back in 2010, and like the Ivory Coast, they’ll be hoping to end the drought this time around.
Drawn in Group E of the tournament, Ivory Coast first faced Equatorial Guinea and won by a single goal, courtesy of Sivasspor forward Max-Alain Gardel.
It was a bit harder when they took on Sierra Leone in the second round, with goals from Ajax striker Sebastian Haller and Arsenal winger Nicolas Pepe only enough for a 2-2 draw. Finally, they beat Algeria by 3-1 to secure the top spot in the group, with AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie, PSV Eindhoven midfielder Ibrahim Sangare and Pepe all on target to settle the outcome of the contest before the hour mark.
These results will have done a lot to lift the confidence of the Ivorians, who will be hoping to lift the trophy they last won in 2015. On top of that, the team led by Patrice Beaumelle lost only one of their last 15 matches, winning 10 and drawing four.
Having lost his place in the starting XI at Arsenal to young Bukayo Saka, Pepe seems revitalized when he represents his country and that is all to the good for the team.
Beaumelle won’t have too many reasons for changing anything from the last match when he names his starting XI. Haller and Pepe are both nailed on to start upfront and likely to cause the Egyptian defence a lot of issues.