Togo/Tunisia: Hawks Hope to Swoop Down On North Africans Again

Photo: Chris Ricco/Backpagepix
Emmanuel Adebayor of Togo argues with the referee over one of a series of contested decisions in the match against Tunisia.

Togo need just a draw against Tunisia in Nelspruit on Wednesday to reach the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals for the first time in their history.

The west African side put themselves in a position to qualify when they defeated Algeria 2-0 in their last pool match and will take plenty of confidence from that "smash and grab" performance into this fixture.

Togo are second in the pool behind Cote d’Ivoire, who cannot be caught at the top of the group. The Togolese currently lead Tunisia on goal difference, with the latter having been hammered 3-0 by the Ivorians in their last outing.

It will be interesting to see what tactics Togo introduce. Will they sit back and try and soak up the Tunisian pressure, or look for a goal that would settle their nerves?

Frenchman Didier Six has certainly been talking an attacking game.

“I don't have a team which plays defensive football, the spirit of my players on the pitch is to win. Yes, mathematically, we need only one point, but the reality of our football is not to be content with that. We'll be going for the win,” he says.

“The Tunisians have solid experience, they've been to many Nations Cups. We'll do our best to succeed, but it's going to be hard.

“It's not just about focusing on one player like [Tunisian star Youssef] Msakni. All teams have players to watch out for – we've got [Emmanuel] Adebayor. Tunisia will want to stop him, he's dangerous, like Msakni.”

Six also said his side has no complaints about the Nelspruit pitch, on which a heavy sand covering has been laid after a fungus destroyed the grass. “Have you been to Lome lately?” he said. “Just look at the pitch in Lome – this is much, much better than the one at the national stadium there.”

Tunisia coach Coach Sami Trabelsi says his side still believe they can advance despite the loss to the Ivorians.

“The result may mean we played badly, but I believe we played better in the second half. We paid for our mistakes and failed to take our chances. It's not over yet, there is still a game to go. We hope to qualify, we have to win our last game,” he said.

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