Match Time:7/12/2019 03:00 Friday(GMT+8)
The last fixture of quarter-finals will see Tunisia facing Madagascar. Being regarded as one of the top teams in Africa, Tunisia have had a disappointing run in the group phase, drawing all 3 games and only managed to qualify for knockout stage as the second best team of the group. In their round of 16 fixture against Ghana, Tunisia kept out-of-form forward Wahbi Khazri on the bench for the majority of the game, and shifted their focus towards consolidating defence.
I have to give credit to Tunisia for bring on the 1.93m tall goalkeeper Farouk Ben Mustapha just before the penalty shoot out. I am a big fan of using tall goalkeeper in similar scenarios when I was managing Yuenlong. Goalkeeper's tall physical presence can be intimidating for opposition penalty taker. Turns out, this strategy worked just fine for Tunisia, as they edge through by winning 5:4 in the shoot-out, thanks to Farouk Ben Mustapha's save.
Madagascar have been a huge revelation of this tournament. They have been playing fearlessly against all their opponents so far and have shown huge initiative in both attacking and defensive ends. In the round of 16 showdown against DR Congo, Madagascar managed to capitalize DR Congo's defensive mistakes twice to force a 2:2 draw after 90 minutes, before going on the clinch the victory by winning 4:2 in the penalty shoot-out.
With Tunisia and Madagascar both go through on penalties, both two sides will hate to concede the first goal in the coming game. The lack of attacking options will likely force Tunisia back to a defensive formation. Thus, I expect to see a draw after 90 minutes. As for which team to advance to the next round, I would love to see Madagascar carry on their fairy tale journey.
Madagascar VS Tunisia