World of Sport

The real fairytale Cup upset of the weekend

World of Sport

Imagine if Malta got to the quarter-finals of the European Championships and you would have an idea of the fairytale story going on in African football at the moment.

The tiny Cape Verde Islands, with a population of just over 500,000, booked their place in the quarter-finals of the African Cup of Nations at the weekend after beating Angola 2-1 in Port Elizabeth on a night of incredible drama that also saw hosts South Africa move on.

It might have been a weekend of high excitement in the FA Cup, but nothing matched the scenes in Africa as substitute Heldon stabbed home a stoppage-time winner in almost comic slow-motion.

With that the entire Cape Verde bench leaped high into the air and on to the pitch to engulf Heldon and anyone else in their path to celebrate one of the greatest international fairytales.

Massive underdogs Cape Verde, spread over 10 islands off the coast of west Africa, have a population that would be about the same as Luxembourg and just slightly bigger than Malta.

Cape Verde's coach Lucio Antunes stormed the field with his nation’s flag and then burst into song during his post-match press conference.

He was then joined by the entire team who stormed the media briefing to jump around and sing with joy.

"It is a small, quiet country but there will be singing and dancing there tonight that's for certain - with the coach joining in as you can see," said defender Nando.

The match didn’t just grip those in Africa though with thousands of ex-pats also tuning into the match in Portugal.

After delighting the press with a rendition of 'The Biography of a Crioulo', a Cape Verde song of joy referring to the Portuguese dialect spoken in the islands, coach Antunes finally talked about his team’s achievement.

"It is a traditional song. I dedicate it to all the people at home," he said after the Group A match.

"We achieved our objective, we knew it was going to be difficult but we kept at it.

"We knew what was happening in the other match between South Africa and Morocco (a 2-2 draw) and that's why I told the team to attack until the end and it paid off. It also started raining and that blessed our effort."

You can watch highlights of both matches below, while the jubilant scenes at the press conference should autoplay at the top of the blog.

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