We look ahead to the opening match of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations with our Ivory Coast vs Guinea-Bissau prediction and preview.
Ivory Coast vs Guinea-Bissau: Pre-Match Facts
- The Opta supercomputer predicts an Ivory Coast win in the opening game of the 2023 AFCON, with the host nation winning 59% of pre-match simulations.
- This will be the first encounter between Ivory Coast and Guinea-Bissau at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations.
- Ivory Coast are taking part in their 25th AFCON tournament; only Egypt have made more appearances in the continent’s premier competition (26). They will be attempting to win the trophy for the third time, after 1992 and 2015.
- Ivory Coast are hosting the Africa Cup of Nations for the second time, 40 years after it was initially held in the country, in 1984. That time, Cameroon won the title, while Côte d’Ivoire were knocked out in the group stages.
- The hosts/co-hosts of the Africa Cup of Nations have reached the knockout stages of the tournament in all bar one of the last 14 editions – the exception was Gabon in 2017. However, no host has won the AFCON since Egypt in 2006.
- Ivory Coast are unbeaten in their last 12 opening matches at the Africa Cup of Nations (W7 D5) – the last time they lost their first match in an edition of the tournament was in 1996 (2-0 vs Ghana). Their opening match will be their 100th in the AFCON, becoming the third team to reach that tally after Egypt and Ghana.
- This is Guinea-Bissau’s fourth Africa Cup of Nations appearance after making their debut in the competition only six years ago in 2017 – they have finished bottom of their group in each of their three previous participations, with a total of three draws and six defeats.
- Only Benin (14) and Mozambique (12) have played more matches than Guinea-Bissau (9) at the Africa Cup of Nations without ever winning one.
- Guinea-Bissau have failed to score in their last seven matches at the Africa Cup of Nations, a record for any team in the history of the competition. In total, it’s been over 11 hours since they last found the net (707 minutes), a goal by Piqueti against Cameroon on 18 January 2017.
- If Max Gradel plays, this will be his seventh Africa Cup of Nations tournament, equalling Boubacar Barry, Siaka Tiéné and Kolo Touré as the Ivorians with most AFCON tournament appearances. He was part of the winning squad in 2015.
- The duo of Zinho Gano and Jorginho scored 55% of Guinea-Bissau’s goals in the qualifiers for the 2023 AFCON (three goals each, out of a total of 11 team goals).
The 34th edition of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations kicks off on Saturday, with hosts Ivory Coast taking on Guinea-Bissau at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan in Group A. It’ll be their 100th AFCON game, so they’ll be looking to celebrate reaching the century with a strong performance in front of their own fans.
On the only previous occasion that Ivory Coast hosted AFCON, they exited in the group stage (1984), so a win in this match would ease worries about them repeating that disastrous tournament finish. History shows they are strong starters, with Ivory Coast unbeaten in their last 12 opening games at an AFCON tournament (W7 D5). Their recent form suggests that they aren’t shy of goalscorers in their side, either. They have scored 16 goals in their last three matches, with a 9-0 win over Seychelles and 2-0 win over Gambia in World Cup qualification followed up by a pre-AFCON friendly win over Sierra Leone (5-1).
Ivory Coast automatically qualified for AFCON 2023 as hosts, but they had to take part in qualifying anyway, finishing runners-up in Group H ahead of Comoros and Lesotho. They finished the group with 13 points from their six games, with their draw against Lesotho being the only point Lesotho earned in qualifying, and their single loss coming against group winners Zambia.
Ivory Coast have previously participated at AFCON 24 times, a number only bettered by Egypt (25). They have been crowned champions twice, in 1992 and 2015. Both finals were against Ghana and both finished 0-0 after extra-time, then going to penalties. The 1992 final was the first major international final penalty shootout in which every player for both teams took a spot kick. Ivory Coast’s last AFCON appearance was again decided by a shootout after a goalless draw, but one which they were on the wrong end of, losing 5-4 to Egypt in the round of 16.
Guinea-Bissau have failed to score in their last seven matches at the AFCON, a record for any team in the history of the competition. In total, it’s been over 11 hours since they last found the net (707 minutes). Their final warm-up game for this tournament did see them score twice, but their defence was breached six times in a 6-2 friendly loss to Mali on 6 January.
Guinea-Bissau qualified for AFCON 2023 as runners-up in Group A, ahead of Sierra Leone and São Tomé and Príncipe. They got 13 points from their six matches, and were the only team in the group to take points off rampant group winners Nigeria. In fact, it was a Nigerian 95th-minute winner against Sierra Leone which secured Guinea-Bissau’s qualification to this tournament on 18 June 2023.
Before 2023, Guinea-Bissau have qualified for AFCON three times, those being the last three tournaments (2017, 2019 and 2021). They have thus far failed to progress from the group stages, but finished all three tournaments with the same record – fourth in the group with one draw and two losses.
Ivory Coast vs Guinea-Bissau Head-to-Head
This will be the first encounter between Ivory Coast and Guinea-Bissau at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Ivory Coast vs Guinea-Bissau Prediction
Tournament hosts Ivory Coast are backed to start their 2023 AFCON campaign with a victory by the Opta supercomputer. They won 59.0% of pre-match simulations, compared to 20.4% won by Guinea-Bissau, while 20.6% of games ended in a draw.
In the week leading up to AFCON 2023, our pre-tournament predictions had Ivory Coast on a 12.1% chance of winning the competition behind favourites Senegal and ahead of Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria and Cameroon.
Below are their current, up-to-date chances of progression through AFCON 2023 according to the Opta supercomputer:
Ivory Coast vs Guinea-Bissau Squads
Ivory Coast: Charles Folly, Yahia Fofana, Badra Ali Sangaré, Evan Ndicka, Wilfried Singo, Ousmane Diomande, Ismaël Diallo, Sèrge Aurier, Odilon Kossounou, Ghislain Konan, Willy-Arnaud Boly, Seko Fofana, Jean Seri, Franck Kessié, Idrissa Doumbia, Ibrahim Sangaré, Lazare Amani, Max Gradel, Jérémie Boga, Simon Adingra, Oumar Diakité, Jean-Philippe Krasso, Sébastien Haller, Jonathan Bamba, Christian Kouamé, Nicolas Pépé, Karim Konaté
Coach: Jean-Louis Gasset
Guinea-Bissau: Ouparine Djoco, Jonas Mendes, Fernando Embadje, Sori Mané, Marcelo Djaló, Fali Candé, Jefferson Encada, Edgar Ié, Opa Sanganté, Nanu, Prosper Mendy, Nito Gomes, Dálcio, Zidane Banjaqui, Janio Bikel, Moreto Cassamá, Mauro Rodrigues, Alfa Semedo, Famana Quizera, Carlos Mané, Mama Baldé, Marciano Sanca, Zé Turbo, Carlos Gomes, Zinho Gano, Franculino Djú
Coach: Baciro Candé