If there was one group that would receive the undeserving title of ‘Group of Death’ (or the corollary Group of Life) it is Group D with the ever bridesmaid Ivory Coast, and North African powers Algeria and Tunisia with Togo rounding out an exciting group.
Algeria has been on the rise over the last few years. Currently sitting at 16 in the world, they are looking like the great side of the 80s where they were qualifying for World Cups and succeeding at the Cup of Nations. There are players in France, England, Italy, and Spain joined by domestic players which make for multiple starting lineups. This is one of the deepest and most talented squads of any in the tournament. It is all about hitting the ground running as they face North African rival Tunisia. Knockout round is success, group stage knockout failure.
Ivory Coast in recent years, while boasting excellent talent, has not been able to overcome the final hurdle of a continental title. This looks to be the last chance for many of these players as there are quite a few who are on the wrong side of 30. While there is talent bursting at the seam it is down to Sabri Lamouchi bring it all together and bring success to the Ivory Coast.
Togo has qualified for their first competition since the 2010 tournament which they withdrew due to the shooting of the team bus, one of the great tragedies of recent years. For the relatively small nation to have the success that they have in the last decade is sensational. Emmanuel Adebayour is back in international play and is the key to any success that is possible in such a difficult group. If they somehow make it to the knockout stage it will be miraculous.
Tunisia must consider themselves snake bit. They have a talented squad that is made up of domestic players, due to the very high level of competitiveness of the league, and they land in a group as difficult as this. The Eagles of Carthage constantly have good squads entering this tournament and with this current crop it is only a matter of goals. Herein is where they squad is diversifying as players come from outside Tunisia. If Issam Jemaa gets rolling he is one of the best weapons available. Knockout stage is something to be considered a success.
Quarter Finalists: Ivory Coast and Algeria