With the group stage of the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations nearly complete, only 16 of the original 24 teams will remain with eight teams heading home.
All first-place and second-place finishers of the group stage qualified for the knockout round, while the four best third-placed teams make it through to complete the field of 16 teams.
Shockingly, African powers Ghana and Algeria were both eliminated in the group stage. For Algeria, the defending champions fall flat in its title defense, while Nigeria failed to reach the knockout round for the first time since 2002. On the flip side, Cape Verde reached the knockout stage for just the second time in the nation's history, following up its 2013 showing when it reached the quarterfinals. Tiny Comoros also moved on in its first-ever appearace at the AFCON tournament. Both of them moved on as one of the four best third-place teams. Here's how the third-place finishers ranked:
|1. Cape Verde-X||A||4||3||1||1||1||2||2||0|
|5. Sierra Leone-E||E||2||2||0||0||2||2||2||0|
X = Qualified to Round of 16 | E = Eliminated
Hosts Cameroon, en route to winning Group A, scored the most goals of the group stage with seven, while Senegal completed its charge to the top of Group B without conceding a single goal. Nigeria finished with the most points, a perfect nine-of-nine after winning all three matches with a +5 goal differential, the best in the tournament so far.
Below is the complete knockout round schedule with just five places left to be filled.
AFCON 2022 knockout bracket
Round of 16
|Jan. 23, 2022||Burkina Faso vs. Gabon||11 a.m.||TBA|
|Jan. 23, 2022||Nigeria vs. E3 / F3||2 p.m.||TBA|
|Jan. 24, 2022||Guinea vs. F2||11 a.m.||TBA|
|Jan. 24, 2022||Cameroon vs. C3 / E3||2 p.m.||TBA|
|Jan. 25, 2022||Morocco vs. Malawi||11 a.m.||TBA|
|Jan. 25, 2022||Senegal vs. Cape Verde||2 p.m.||TBA|
|Jan. 26, 2022||E1 vs. Egypt||11 a.m.||TBA|
|Jan. 26, 2022||F1 vs. E2||2 p.m.||TBA|
|Jan. 29, 2022||QF1: Guinea/F2 vs. Cameroon/C3/E3||11 a.m.||TBA|
|Jan. 29, 2022||QF2: Burkina Faso/Gabon vs. Nigeria/E3/F3||2 p.m.||TBA|
|Jan. 30, 2022||QF3: Morocco/Malawi vs. E1/Egypt||11 a.m.||TBA|
|Jan. 30, 2022||QF4: Senegal/Cape Verde vs. F1/E2||2 p.m.||TBA|
|Feb. 2, 2022||Winner QF2 vs. Winner QF4||2 p.m.||TBA|
|Feb. 3, 2022||Winner QF3 vs. Winner QF1||2 p.m.||TBA|
|Feb. 6, 2022||Loser SF1 vs. Loser SF2||11 a.m.||TBA|
|Feb. 6, 2022||Winner SF1 vs. Winner SF2||2 p.m.||TBA|
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