I have previewed both of these teams in-depth in my pre tournament posts, for more click here. I rate both of these outfits and I think each will progress. Egypt are both fancied and underrated at the same time. I think anyone who knows African football realises they are a major threat to go deep in the tournament. However, most of their squad is unrecognised to people outside of Africa and only stars like Mohamed Salah are being talked about. The Pharoah’s have some decent technical players and will surprise a lot of viewers. Today, they match up against the more physical Mali, a team who’s extra height could be an interesting factor. I rate Egypt as the better side and perhaps an extra moment of class could prove to be the difference. I could see them winning a close affair, maybe something like 1-0 or 2-1. If I was more confident then maybe I’d take them on a -0.25 handicap, but this is the first group game and sometimes teams start slow. A draw wouldn't surprise me in the slightest and Mali could prove to be a pleasant surprise. So I’ll sit this one out and wait for better opportunities during the week.
Prediction: Mali 0-1 Egypt
Recommended bet: None