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Top football/soccer transfer rumors - Feb. 23-Mar. 2 Check out the latest rumors doing the rounds throughout world football. /foxsoccer/world/lists/transfer-rumors-february-24-march-2-football-soccer-players-teams-022414 http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2014/02/24/022414-Rumor-Mill-GUNDO-GONE-DG-PI_20140224164223176_136_102.JPG
Americans Abroad - Feb. 21-23 Review the top Americans that can take their talents overseas this year. /foxsoccer/usa/lists/americans-abroad-feb-21-23-performances-players-overseas-022314 http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2014/02/23/022314-SOCCE-forget-me-not-PI_2014022319021849_136_102.JPG
FOX Soccer Power Rankings - Feb. 21-28 FOX Soccer Power Rankings: Paris Saint-Germain return to top five after crushing Champions League win /foxsoccer/world/lists/power-rankings-february-21-28-paris-saint-germain-return-to-top-five-after-crushing-win-022114 http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2014/02/21/drasticjump-pi_20140221180930519_136_102.JPG
Top football/soccer transfer rumors - Feb. 17-23 Check out the latest rumors doing the rounds throughout world football. /foxsoccer/world/lists/transfer-rumors-february-17-23-football-soccer-players-teams-021714 http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2014/02/17/021714-SOCCER-Shock-Waves-HF-PI_20140217182428996_136_102.JPG
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World 2018 43 African Cup of Nations - Group Stage, Second Round Review 31557190 Best forward: Alain Traore (Burkina Faso) Best+forward%3A+Alain+Traore+%28Burkina+Faso%29 World

The second round of group games is over and with Cote D’Ivoire in and Algeria out, the other fourteen sides have all to play for this week. Check out our list of winners and losers from South Africa, starting with Burkina Faso's stellar striker.

 

The 24-year-old Lorient forward has been attracting a growing reputation over the past couple of years, even in a struggling Auxerre side. But for work permit issues, he might have joined Manchester United in 2005 after impressing at the Under-17 World Cup, and the list of suitors is only going to increase after his performances at the Cup of Nations. Having come off the bench in Burkina Faso’s opener against Nigeria, he calmly side-footed the equalizer, before scoring two stunning goals in the Burkinabes’ 4-0 demolition of Ethiopia. For the first, he controlled Charles Kabore’s ball over the top before smashing in a finish from just inside the box; the second completed a rapid forward move with a gorgeous first-time arcing strike with the outside of his foot from 30 yards. In a tournament defined so far by stodginess, his explosiveness has put Burkina Faso in a position to make it out of the group for the first time since 1998.

Thomas Mukoya - Action Images/Reuters http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/26/012613-SOCCER-AFRICAN-CUP-OF-NATIONS-SS-G1_20130126220211775_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/26/012613-SOCCER-AFRICAN-CUP-OF-NATIONS-SS-G1_20130126220211775_107_80.JPG
World 2018 43 African Cup of Nations - Group Stage, Second Round Review 31557188 Best goalkeeper: Kennedy Mweene (Zambia) Best+goalkeeper%3A+Kennedy+Mweene+%28Zambia%29 World

The only thing better than a goalkeeper who regularly makes great saves is a goalkeeper who regularly makes great saves and also scores goals. Remarkably, Mweene has now faced penalties in each of his last four matches in the Cup of Nations; none have been scored. Even in the shoot-out in the final last year, two of the nine Ivorian penalties were missed. He puts his record down to “repetitions”, practicing penalties every day in training.

“You have to be sharp, intelligent,” he said. “You have to look at the position he [the penalty-taker] puts his feet.” The practice works at the other end as well. When Zambia was awarded a penalty with five minutes to go against Nigeria, Mweene stepped up and side-footed a preposterously nonchalant penalty into the top corner. “The coach always asks who is going to take penalties and it was me and Chris [Katongo] but unfortunately Chris was off,” he said. “It’s intimidating because you have to walk all the way from the other goal to reach the opponents’ goal. You just have to keep your nerve, because I had to score to level the game. It was difficult but I kept my cool and I scored.”

Lefty Shivambu - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/26/012613-SOCCER-AFRICAN-CUP-OF-NATIONS-SS-G4_20130126220211773_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/26/012613-SOCCER-AFRICAN-CUP-OF-NATIONS-SS-G4_20130126220211773_107_80.JPG
World 2018 43 African Cup of Nations - Group Stage, Second Round Review 31557193 Best rant: Vincent Enyeama (Nigeria) Best+rant%3A+Vincent+Enyeama+%28Nigeria%29 World

One of the most irritating things about criticism of referees is that it’s so often obviously calculated, managers using a controversial decision to deflect attention from their team’s deficiencies or to pressure an official for an upcoming game. So there’s something refreshing when a player really lets rip. Enyeama, it’s fair to say, wasn’t impressed when the Egyptian referee Grisha Ghead decided Ogyeni Onazi had pushed Emmanuel Mayuka in the box. He called it a “bizarre call” and went to describe it as “one of the worst decisions in the history of football” before insisting African football could never develop until refereeing improved.

Laurence Griffiths - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/26/012613-SOCCER-AFRICAN-CUP-OF-NATIONS-SS-G6_20130126220539785_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/26/012613-SOCCER-AFRICAN-CUP-OF-NATIONS-SS-G6_20130126220539785_107_80.JPG
World 2018 43 African Cup of Nations - Group Stage, Second Round Review 31557192 Best individual performance: Gervinho (Cote d’Ivoire v Tunisia) Best+individual+performance%3A+Gervinho+%28Cote+d%26rsquo%3BIvoire+v+Tunisia%29 World

A figure of mockery at Arsenal, Gervinho has been a revelation in this tournament; here, so far, has been the player his talent suggested he could be. The winner against Togo, a superb flick with the outside of his right foot, restored his fragile confidence and against Tunisia he was magnificent, scoring the first, setting up the third and generally playing with pace, wit and imagination. Missing in the shoot-out in the final last year seemed to destroy his self-esteem; perhaps the tournament this year can restore it.

Duif du Toit - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/26/012613-SOCCER-AFRICAN-CUP-OF-NATIONS-SS-G8_20130126220538784_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/26/012613-SOCCER-AFRICAN-CUP-OF-NATIONS-SS-G8_20130126220538784_107_80.JPG
World 2018 43 African Cup of Nations - Group Stage, Second Round Review 31557189 Greatest relief: South Africa Greatest+relief%3A+South+Africa World

South African football is dogged both by expectation and a sense of its own failings. Hope that, as hosts, it might ride a wave of euphoria into the later stages quickly turned to disillusionment after the opening draw against Cape Verde. The coach, Gordon Igesund, wears his anxiety openly – something that perhaps transmitted itself to his players and led to the nervous bittiness of that first day. When Siyabonga Sagweni latched onto a free-kick at the back post and finished neatly, the pressure almost visibly lifted off him.

Rogan Ward - Action Images/Reuters http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/26/012613-SOCCER-AFRICAN-CUP-OF-NATIONS-SS-G3_20130126220211774_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/26/012613-SOCCER-AFRICAN-CUP-OF-NATIONS-SS-G3_20130126220211774_107_80.JPG
World 2018 43 African Cup of Nations - Group Stage, Second Round Review 31557195 Most intriguing fumble: Morocco Most+intriguing+fumble%3A+Morocco World

The template is familiar. Morocco looks promising, has a couple of fine soccer players in midfield and is mentioned as a dark horse to be champion. Then the tournament starts, it huffs and puffs, shows moments of ability in flashes, and ends up fizzling out in the group stage with everybody wondering what went wrong. In its opening game it was frustrated by a dogged Angola, keeping its fifth clean sheet in a row. In its second, it fell behind to a spirited Cape Verde, endured a passage of chippy play with players arguing among themselves and with anybody who came in range but then found the inner strength to batter the Blue Sharks in the final minutes, scoring an equalizer and applying intense pressure. It now needs a win against South Africa in its final game to be sure of making the quarter-final for the first time since 2004 and only the third time since 1988.

Steve Haag - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/26/012613-SOCCER-AFRICAN-CUP-OF-NATIONS-SS-G7_20130126220539786_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/26/012613-SOCCER-AFRICAN-CUP-OF-NATIONS-SS-G7_20130126220539786_107_80.JPG
World 2018 43 African Cup of Nations - Group Stage, Second Round Review 31557187 Most celebrated point: Niger vs. DR Congo Most+celebrated+point%3A+Niger+vs.+DR+Congo World

To most, Niger’s 0-0 draw with DRC was a glum stalemate, replete with aimless long balls and errors. To Niger, though, after losing its first four games in finals tournaments while scoring only one goal, the point was celebrated as a golden moment. The country is desperately poor, second bottom of the UN’s Global Development Index and struggling with six years of poor rains, but its football is burgeoning. It qualified for the Cup of Nations finals the first time a year ago and now it has its first point.

Richard Huggard - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/26/012613-SOCCER-AFRICAN-CUP-OF-NATIONS-SS-G5_20130126220211776_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/26/012613-SOCCER-AFRICAN-CUP-OF-NATIONS-SS-G5_20130126220211776_107_80.JPG
World 2018 43 African Cup of Nations - Group Stage, Second Round Review 31557191 Worst refereeing decision: Noumandiez Doue (Ghana v Mali) Worst+refereeing+decision%3A+Noumandiez+Doue+%28Ghana+v+Mali%29 World

Confusion at the edge of the box, Ghana’s goalkeeper Fatawu Dauda grounded just outside his area, Seydou Keita about to nip the ball off him and roll into an empty net…. Dauda stuck out a guilty hand and blocked the ball; it’s hard to imagine a more obvious case of denying a clear goal-scoring opportunity, yet Doue showed only a yellow card. Ghana went on to win 1-0 but had Dauda walked, it might have been very different. Burkina Faso’s Abdoulaye Soulama was sent off for handling outside his area a day later with far less obvious chance of a goal.

Siphiwe Sibeko - Action Images/Reuters http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/26/012613-SOCCER-AFRICAN-CUP-OF-NATIONS-SS-G2_20130126220211777_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/26/012613-SOCCER-AFRICAN-CUP-OF-NATIONS-SS-G2_20130126220211777_107_80.JPG
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http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2014/02/24/022414-Rumor-Mill-GUNDO-GONE-DG-PI_20140224164223176_136_102.JPG Top football/soccer transfer rumors - Feb. 23-Mar. 2 Check out the latest rumors doing the rounds... Check out the latest rumors doing the rounds throughout world football. Robin van Persie's rumored return to Arsenal would be beyond controversial in many ways. Feb 26, 2014 8:47 AM ET 1 39 /foxsoccer/world/lists/transfer-rumors-february-24-march-2-football-soccer-players-teams-022414
http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2014/02/23/022314-SOCCE-forget-me-not-PI_2014022319021849_136_102.JPG Americans Abroad - Feb. 21-23 Review the top Americans that can take their... Review the top Americans that can take their talents overseas this year. Familiar faces may rejoin United States men's national team conversation. Feb 25, 2014 2:41 AM ET 1 39 /foxsoccer/usa/lists/americans-abroad-feb-21-23-performances-players-overseas-022314
http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2014/02/21/drasticjump-pi_20140221180930519_136_102.JPG FOX Soccer Power Rankings - Feb. 21-28 FOX Soccer Power Rankings: Paris Saint-Germai... FOX Soccer Power Rankings: Paris Saint-Germain return to top five after crushing Champions League win Giant thumping brings Ibrahimovic and Co. back to our top ten list. Feb 22, 2014 1:50 PM ET 1 39 /foxsoccer/world/lists/power-rankings-february-21-28-paris-saint-germain-return-to-top-five-after-crushing-win-022114
http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2014/02/17/021714-SOCCER-Shock-Waves-HF-PI_20140217182428996_136_102.JPG Top football/soccer transfer rumors - Feb. 17-23 Check out the latest rumors doing the rounds... Check out the latest rumors doing the rounds throughout world football. Robin van Persie's rumored return to Arsenal would be beyond controversial in many ways. Feb 20, 2014 10:42 AM ET 1 39 /foxsoccer/world/lists/transfer-rumors-february-17-23-football-soccer-players-teams-021714