When you’re backing the underdog all the way, it can be difficult when their run eventually comes to an end. As reported by The Guardian and BBC, the spirited display of Madagascar in the Africa Cup of Nations eventually saw them come up short in the quarter-finals as they were beaten by Tunisia.
The Tunisians put on the kind of display that made them more than worthy of a spot on the final four, and that much kind of goes without saying. Madagascar were able to put together some really memorable performances against the likes of Nigeria and DR Congo, but in the end, this was just a step too far.
One step beyond
Heading into half time it still seemed like they had some hope, as it was goalless with Tunisia being unable to break them down. Alas, it was a case of if and not when, as they continued to push forward in numbers before finally getting the breakthrough they had been searching for.
Tunisia will now move on to face Senegal in the semi-finals of the tournament, in a game that may believe will decide the winner of the tournament altogether. The other semi will see Nigeria and Algeria square off, but both are probably going to be viewed as underdogs regardless of who makes their way through to the next round.
Alas, the main story here is Madagascar, aka the team that started the process of qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations way back in 2017. That fact alone should give you an idea of how far they had to come and how much they had to fight, scratch and claw just to appear in their first ever edition of this tournament.
Everyone has always been against them and dismissed them as not really being a football nation, but boy oh boy have they been able to prove the world wrong. That’s one of the magical things about African football: you never truly know how much it means to them until you see it for yourself, and when you do, it’s pretty magical.
We wholeheartedly suggest that many of you tune in to watch the remaining AFCON games, because if nothing else, Madagascar have taught us what it means to love the underdog again. They didn’t care that they were underappreciated and they didn’t care about reputations, because they just went out there and did their own thing.
They can now look ahead to both the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2022 FIFA World Cup with a smile on their faces, because they’ve got something they can really build on. Momentum is an incredibly powerful thing for a small footballing nation, as Iceland will be able to tell you, and it can lead to some special moments.
Madagascar are just starting to experience that, and we’re excited to see what kind of journey they go on now.
Tunisia, on the other hand, have their tails up and are ready to go and win this thing.