Egypt to hold off struggling South Africa

Egypt walked through their group to qualify for the knockout stages of the Africa Cup of Nations in stark contrast to their opponents. Is it just a formality or can South Africa pull a shock out of the bag? Have a read of our preview here:

Egypt looking sharp

It would be easy to reel off loads of stats about Mo Salah when talking about this Egyptian side but, frankly, we already know how good he is and his two goals at these finals prove it. There are questions remaining, however, and these knockout stages will test Javier Aguirre’s side to see just how good they can be.

The World Cup saw Salah cut an isolated figure but so far Egypt have been a lot better at getting players forward to support their star man. In Marwan Mohsen they have a player capable of holding up the ball and bringing others into play which has helped create the chances that were conspicuous by their absence at in Russia last summer.

What is also important to note is the lack of goals conceded by this team. They have a big fat zero in the goals against column thanks to a teamwork ethic and the dominant displays from Ahmed Hegazy and Mahmoud Alaa. Mohamed El Neny has also impressed with his energy in midfield and, in all honesty, his class. There is a reason he played for Arsenal and on the big stage, this experience shines through.

South Africa squeeze through

How South Africa have qualified for the knockout stages is as big a mystery as how Phil Jones keeps getting a new contract but they achieved it nonetheless and face a really tough task against Egypt.

Stuart Baxter’s side looked woefully short of ideas against Morocco in the final group game and failed to score in two of them. Their 1-0 win against Namibia was just enough to squeak them through as one of the four best third-place teams but it is hard to see them progressing further.

Defence the saving grace

The main positive for South Africa is they defend well. Despite losing two group games they only conceded two goals and could have qualified with ease if they had players going forward to score the goals.

Unlike Egypt, there is no star quality in this South Africa side and against better sides they struggle to create chances – something that has been staggeringly obvious during this tournament so far.

Egypt vs South Africa betting tip

With Egypt looking to play either three up top or three supporting one striker, it is hard not to see them getting the goal they need against South Africa. If that is the case it will likely be enough to see them through. With that in mind, backing Egypt to win to nil at odds of 6/5 is the way to go here.

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