The Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2024) is in full swing. 24 teams from different countries across the continent made the trip to Ivory Coast, on a quest to win Africa's biggest football tournament.
Of our 24 teams, there are currently 16 left standing. In this article, we'll talk about the teams that qualified for the Round of 16, and how they got there.
Paired in the same group with three-time AFCON champions Nigeria and hosts Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea weren't really expected to be one of the top two teams, let alone the Group A leaders.
However, in a tournament with many shocking upsets, Nzalang Nacional probably had one of the biggest: A 4-0 victory over Ivory Coast.
Nigeria's Super Eagles came into this competition as one of the pre-tournament favourites. Although they've done fairly well, accumulating seven points from a possible nine, José Peseiro's men have not really looked as good as advertised.
In three group games, Nigeria scored just three times. One of those was a penalty, and another was an own goal.
Ivory Coast kicked off their Nations Cup campaign with a 2-0 victory over Guinea-Bissau. However, things didn't go too well for the hosts since then, as they lost back-to-back games, conceding five times in the process.
Jean-Louis Gasset's men needed help in order to reach the last 16. Morocco's victory over Zambia ensured the hosts would not get kicked out in the group stages.
Prior to the start of this tournament, if someone said Cape Verde would clinch the top spot in a group containing seven-time AFCON champions Egypt and four-time champions Ghana, no one would believe them.
In an interesting turn of events, Bubista's men became the first team to book a spot in the knockout stages of AFCON 2024. As a matter of fact, Cape Verde already clinched the top spot with one game left to play.
Egypt finished second in Group B with a disappointing tally of three points. While they failed to win any of their games, it's worth mentioning that the Pharaohs did not lose either.
In fact, Rui Vitoria's men are currently on an eight-match unbeaten run across all competitions. If the Pharaohs can find ways to not lose, perhaps they can go all the way.
Senegal have been the most dominant team in this tournament. They are the only team in this tournament with a perfect three wins from three.
Not only do the defending champions have arguably the best defence in this competition (1 goal conceded), they've also been one of the highest-scoring sides, bagging eight goals in three group matches.
The Indomitable Lions clinched a round of 16 spot at the last minute, after an entertaining five-goal thriller against Gambia.
However, considering Gambia lost to every other team in Group C, Cameroon will need to beat a really good team if they are to be taken seriously.
Guinea had already qualified for the Round of 16 after the first two rounds. Even though they lost to Senegal in their final group game, Syli National have proven that they can go toe-to-toe with some of the best teams in the continent, after beating Nigeria and Cameroon this month.
Angola finished at the top of Group D with seven points. They head into the round of 16 with a ton of confidence, having won back-to-back games, with no losses in seven matches.
Although Burkina Faso earned a place in the last 16, their form has gotten gradually worse over the course of their AFCON campaign.
Hubert Velud's troops started with a victory, followed by a draw, and then a loss. This might be a cause for concern.
Mauritania had never qualified for the knockout stages of the AFCON before this year. This was their third appearance since their debut in 2019.
Paired in a group with Algeria, Burkina Faso and Angola, the Mauritanians were expected to finish at the bottom of Group D.
However, after losing their first two matches, Amir Abdou's men pulled off an upset victory over Algeria, earning a round of 16 spot for the first time.
Although Mali earned five points from a possible nine, it was enough to clinch the top spot in Group E.
Eric Chelle's men head into the knockout stages on the back of a 10-match unbeaten run.
After their disappointing 2-0 loss to Mali in their opening game, South Africa bounced back with a comfortable 4-0 victory over Namibia, before securing a round of 16 berth with a goalless draw against Tunisia.
The interesting thing about Namibia is, they scored just once in three group matches. Collin Benjamin's men finished in third-place with four points and a -3 goal difference.
After their impressive 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign, Morocco were one of the pre-tournament favourites.
As expected the Atlas Lions claimed the top spot in Group F, with seven points from three group matches.
Walid Regragui's men are on an eight-match unbeaten run ahead of the knockout stages.
Like Egypt, DR Congo neither won nor lost any match in this competition, as all of their games ended in stalemates.
However, Sebastien Desabre's men are currently on a five-match winless streak, which will likely be a cause for concern. DR Congo will have to figure out ways to win games if they intend to go far in this competition.
Full list of AFCON 2024 Round of 16 teams
Here's our quick breakdown of the 16 teams that made it through to the knockout stages of AFCON 2024.
- Equatorial Guinea
- Ivory Coast
- Cape Verde
- Burkina Faso
- South Africa
- DR Congo