Africa Cup Of Nations 2012: All Four Teams Can Advance From Group D

Ghana fans celebrate they equilaise during the international friendly match between England and Ghana. Ghana faces Guinea on the Africa Cup of Nations on February 1, 2012. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Ghana are in an excellent position to win Group D of the Africa Cup of Nations, but they could fail to qualify just as easily on an extremely tight final day.

Group C's qualifiers were decided before Tuesday's matches, but Group D, the group that will produce Gabon and Tunisia's quarterfinal opponents, is a completely different story. All four teams can potentially qualify for the quarterfinals of the tournament, while three teams can win the group. Ghana, sitting on six points, could miss out on the quarterfinals in a scenario that is not the least bit far-fetched or convoluted.

Ghana have six points, while Mali and Guinea each have three. Botswana sit on zero. Mali defeated Guinea in their match, giving them a leg up if both teams finish on six points. If Mali, Guinea and Ghana all finish on six points, we get into some really fun tiebreakers.

  • 1. Points earned in the matches between the teams concerned;
  • 2. Goal difference in the matches between the teams concerned;
  • 3. Number of goals scored in the matches between the teams concerned
  • Ghana faces Guinea and will be guaranteed first place in the group with a draw or a win. If Guinea win, they are still not guaranteed qualification, due to the above criteria. Guinea need to defeat Ghana by two or more goals to win the group if the three teams are tied on six points at the end of the day. Botswana can only go through if they beat Mali by nine goals and Ghana win. But hey, they're not mathematically out of it!

    Botswana vs. Mali - Wednesday, 1:00 p.m. ET

    Ghana vs. Guinea - Wednesday, 1:00 p.m. ET

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