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Egypt’s U-23 semi-final qualification scenarios


Photo: EFA official website

Despite drawing against and in the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations, the Young Pharaohs still have chances of qualifying for the tournament’s semi-finals.

Egypt sit in the third place of Group B, with two points from a possible six. They were held to a 1-1 draw in their opening match against Algeria, before clinching a 2-2 draw against the Dream Team of Nigeria. The Pharaohs are two points behind Algeria and Nigeria, while Mali lie at the bottom of the group with no points.

The top two teams of each group qualify to the competition’s semi-final stage, while the top three teams of the tournament have their spots booked in the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics.

The Egyptians are scheduled to face Mali, who have officially lost all their chances of advancing in the tournament, in the third match of the group stage on Saturday. Mali failed to collect any points from their matches against Nigeria and Algeria, losing 3-2 and 2-0, respectively.

Algeria – 4 points
Nigeria – 4 points
Egypt – 2 points
Mali – 0 points

A draw or loss against Mali will be the end of the road for Egypt. To keep their hopes of advancing to the next round, the Pharaohs need to beat Mali for their tally to reach five points. However, winning Mali’s game might not secure Egypt a spot in the semi-finals, as the Egyptians’ fate isn’t entirely in their hands; they will have to wait for the match result of their competitors, Nigeria and Algeria.

Nigeria will be facing Algeria in their third group match on Saturday at 19:00 CLT (17:00 GMT), the same time of Egypt’s match against Mali.

Note: The following scenarios are all assuming a win against Mali.

Scenario 1 – Nigeria win, Egypt qualify:

If Nigeria won their match against Algeria, the Egyptian team will then claim the second spot in the group and a place in the semi-finals alongside group leaders Nigeria.

Scenario 2 – Algeria win, Egypt qualify:

If Algeria defeated Nigeria, the Egyptians will qualify in the second place as well, while Algeria will be on top of the group.

Algeria and Nigeria match ends in a draw:

However, if Saturday’s match between Algeria and Nigeria ended in a draw, the three teams (Egypt, Algeria and Nigeria) will be tied on 5 points, pushing the group into tiebreaker rules.

According to the competition’s rules, the match results with the bottom team of the group – Mali in this case – should be excluded. The rankings should then be determined by the greatest number of points obtained in all group matches between the teams involved. As the three teams will still be tied at two points and the goal difference will be the same, the greatest number of goals scored rule would apply.

Scenario 3 – Egypt qualify top of the group

If Algeria and Nigeria match ends in a goalless draw, Egypt will qualify on the top of the group, as they will have scored three goals from a 1-1 draw with Algeria and a 2-2 with Nigeria. Nigeria will then come in the second place as they drew 2-2 with Egypt and 0-0 with Algeria.

Scenario 4 – Egypt and Nigeria qualify

If Nigeria and Algeria match ends in 1-1 draw, Egypt and Nigeria will then book their spots in the next round, with each of them scoring three goals, while Algeria will sit in the third place.

Scenario 5 – Nigeria qualify, Mali acts as tiebreaker

If Nigeria and Algeria draw 2-2, Nigeria will then be on top of the group with four goals scored against Algeria and Egypt.

Egypt and Algeria will then have the same number of goals; three goals from 1-1 and 2-2 draws, so their results against Mali will be the tiebreaker.

Algeria defeated Mali 2-0, so if Egypt won 1-0 against Mali, Algeria will advance. Egypt, however, will win the second qualifying spot if they defeated Mali with a three-goal difference.

Egypt will also book a direct spot in the next round, if they defeated Mali with a two-goal margin while scoring more goals than Algeria. So, if Egypt beat Mali 3-1, they will have scored six goals in total, while Algeria’s tally will stand at five goals.

However, if Egypt defeated Mali 2-0, which is the same result of Algeria against Mali, then a drawing of lots conducted by the Organizing Committee will take place between the two Arab teams to decide on who will claim the second qualifying spot.

A 3-3 draw between Algeria and Nigeria will put Egypt outside the competition. Nigeria will then qualify on the top of the group with five goals scored from 3-3 and 2-2 draws, while Algeria will come second with four goals, after 3-3 and 1-1 draws.

Editor-in-Chief at Pursuing a master's degree in sport policy, management and international development at the University of Edinburgh.



  1. stu

    December 5, 2015 at 1:18 AM

    Mali will defeat egipt 2-0 and Nigeria will beat algeria 3-0

  2. Jhn

    December 5, 2015 at 1:23 PM

    Yes ofc ^

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