As Cote d'Ivoire prepare to meet Zambia at the Stade d'Angondjé in Libreville on Sunday, it is fair to say that the two most deserving sides have reached the final of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.
That might be an obvious statement to make, but it has not always been the case in the past. However, The Elephants and Chipolopolo have been the two outstanding sides in this year's competition, combining attacking threat with stoic defence. They have also both been pretty easy on the eye.
The Ivorians have taken a new approach in this tournament, targetting results over style, but they have still managed to produce some stellar performances that have confirmed their position as Africa's number one side.
After five matches, coach Francois Zahoui's side have yet to concede a goal in this tournament, overcoming their weakness in previous major finals for letting in soft goals.
Zambia have surprised everybody but themselves. The front three of Chris Katongo, Rainford Kalaba and Emmanuel Mayuka have been as dangerous as any combination in this tournament, and that should make for another fascinating battle on Sunday.
Failure for Cote d'Ivoire in Libreville will haunt the players who have been dubbed at home as the "Drogba Generation" but who have no silverware to show for their dominance in the last few years.
It might be a last chance at continental glory for Didier Drogba himself, or 100-cap veteran Didier Zokora, and ending their international careers without a Nations Cup title would leave a void that could not be replaced by club successes.
Ironically though, victory might hasten the departure of the current players from the national scene, with the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa just 11 months away. Perhaps that would open the way for the next generation of Elephants.
Zambia have been talking down the star status of their opponents, suggesting they will be treating the final like any other football match.
In a week filled with the emotion of reaching the final and remembering the national team members who tragically died in the 1993 air crash off Gabon, the team are trying to keep their thoughts solely on the football now and sticking to their game plan.
Coach Herve Renard says he expects the Ivorians to offer plenty of respect to his side, respect he says they deserve.
"I don't think Cote d'Ivoire will underrate Zambia," he said. "They have respect for us and we also have a lot of respect for them but we want to beat them. It will be tough game, like the game against Ghana."
Inspirational goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene, who plays for the modest Free State Stars club in South Africa, says he has no fear about coming up against Cote d'Ivoire's galaxy of English Premiership stars, including Chelsea's Drogba.
"I don't get the shakes just because I am facing Drogba, for us it is just one those games," Mweene said. "There is no panic in camp because we are meeting them. I feel no pressure, the coach has done a lot for us mentally [and] always tells us to be cool and level headed."
Cool heads will be needed by the Zambians, but if there is one thing they have shown in this tournament so far, it is that they possess the mental strength to overcome adversity. That will be key for them on Sunday.