Africa Cup Of Nations 2012, Quarterfinals: Zambia, Ivory Coast Favored In Saturday Matches

Salomon Kalou of Cote D'Ivoire in action during the Nelson Mandela Challenge match between South Africa and Ivory Coast. Les Elephants play Equatorial Guinea in the Africa Cup of Nations Quarterfinals on February 4, 2012. (Photo by Richard Huggard/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Cote D'Ivoire and Zambia are heavy favorites to advance from their Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinal matches on Saturday.

Thanks to some upsets in Groups A and B, the Saturday set of quarterfinal matches in the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations look a bit lopsided and both have a very clear favorite. Senegal, Angola and Burkina Faso were both disappointing in the group stage, while Equatorial Guinea were a minor surprise and Sudan were a major surprise.

Zambia faces Sudan in the early match, and the Falcons of Jediane will likely have trouble with Zambia's red hot forward tandem. Christopher Katongo and Emmanuel Mayuka have been two of the tournament's best players so far, and it would be shocking if Sudan kept both of them off the scoreboard. Zambia were quarterfinalists in 2010, but this is a much improved team, and they will provide a test to the Ghana-Tunisia winner if they avoid an upset.

On the other side of the bracket, Cote D'Ivoire will be heavily favored to get by Equatorial Guinea with relative ease. The co-host nation did well to make it through to the knockout stages, but they have almost certainly met their match in the strongest looking team in the tournament. Solomon Kalou and the Elephants' central midfielders look fantastic, and are just simply a different class than their opponents on Saturday.

Africa Cup of Nations Quarterfinals, Saturday matches

Zambia vs. Sudan - 11:00 a.m. ET

Ivory Coast vs. Equatorial Guinea - 2:00 p.m. ET

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