World Cup Group C: Colombia v Ivory Coast

By on June 19, 2014

The two winners of Group C, from Round 1, will face off against each other in the 2nd round of fixtures, in a game where the winner will all but book their place in the knockout round of the tournament.

Colombia played their opening game of the World Cup against Greece, as Jose Pekerman’s side ran riot in that game and came away with all three points. The Colombians put three goals past Karnezis to emphatically announce their arrival to the mega event. Pablo Armero, Teofilo Gutierez and James Rodriguez were the three names on the scoresheet. Jose Pekerman employed a much balanced 4-5-1 in that game with Ibarbo and Cuadrado on the wings while James Rodriguez played in the #10 role with Teofilo Gutierez up front. The focus was definitely on having a sound defensive display in their opening game but that might not be the case in this one as they are off to a great start and Pekerman will most likely go with the much more attacking 4-4-1-1 formation and both Jackson Martinez and Teofilo Gutierez might start this one.

Colombia won their opeing game and the coach will be well aware of the fact that another victory would book their place in the knockout round of the World Cup and they will be in pole position to finish top of the group. Winning the huge has it’s added advantages as the winner of Group C will face the runner up of Group D in the knockout phase which means a possibly easier game in the next round. Jose Pekerman’s side definitely have the quality to get all three points from this game but it will not be as easy as it was against the Greeks. As the Ivorians showed the world in their last game, they are never out and can come back at any point of the game. Plus, Ivory Coast do host an attacking line-up with considerable quality on all fronts. One point of weakness which will attract Pekerman’s attention is the Ivorian’s wekaness in defence. Ivory Coast may have a very decent attacking line-up but their defence is hardly world class. That could very well be exploited by the likes of James Rodriguez, J.G. Cuadrado and Guiterez. Furthermore, players like Adrian Ramos and Jackson Martinez who can come off the bench to make an impact, might have a field day with the Ivorian defence.

Jose Pekerman was handed a blow before the game as Sevilla striker Carlso Bacca picked up a knock in their last training session and will be unavailable for this game. He was one of the favorites to start this game for Colombia but now the coach might have to go with Jackson Martinez or Teo Guiterez.

Ivory Coast did not start their World Cup campaign as comfortably as Colomia. They did get all three points from their opening game against Japan but they had to fight very hard for a comeback. They went a goal down early on in the game and were behind till Didier Drogba was introduced as a substitute in the 62nd minute. Drogba’s introduction made an instant impact as the Elephants came back from a goal down to lead 2-1 within about five minutes. The comeback showed their determination to not give up until the final whistle but it aslo highlighted how Sabri Lamouchi’s 4-3-3 formation did not quite work out as the coach had hoped for and with only three attacking players upfront, his attacking approach was rather limited and easy to contain. Drogba’s introduction added another attacking player into that lineup which created a whole lot of difference. Didier Drogba might not be handed a start in this game either and will probably start on the bench and used only as a super sub. Lamouchi will however change his approach for this game and will go with the 4-2-3-1 with Yaya Toure playing in the #10 role behind Swansea’s Wilfried Bony.

The stakes are high as the winner of this game will end up all but confirming their place in the knockout round. Plus, they will be in pole position to finish top of the group which has a lot of added incentives such as prospect of facing a relatively weaker team in the knockout phase. But, the Elephants will have to work hard if they are to get something from this game because Colombia are a real force as is evident from their last game. Although, Ivory Coast have a more than decent attacking line-up, their defensive line-up does leave a lot to demand. Their display against the Japanese was anything but convincing and if coach Lamousi fails to inspire a better defensive display against the Colombians, then the likes of Jame Rodriguez, Cuadrado, Jackson Martinez and Teo Gutierez will cause a lot of damage and it might not be as easy to comeback against the Colombians as it was against the Japanese. Lamouchi must hope for a solid defensive display as the attacking prowess may not be of any use if they let in a lot of goals. The key would be to avoid conceding in the first twenty minutes and let the game settle before trying to go all out on attack.

Dider Drogba came off the bench in the last game to instant impact but he still won’t be handed a start in this game and most probably start on the bench again. Lamouchi is however expected to switch from 4-3-3 back to 4-2-3-1.

Colombia will be handed a boost as star midfielder Fredy Guarin returns from suspension and will start the game alongside Abel Aguilar. If Pekerman goes with the 4-4-1-1 then James Rodriguez and J.G. Cuadrado will start on the flanks with Jackson Martinez possibly starting just behind Teo Gutierez. Mario Yepes and Zapata will start n the center of defence.

Ivory Coast will use the 4-2-3-1 in this game with Swansea’s Wilfried Bony leading the attack. Yaya Toure will start behind him and take hold of the creative responsibilites with Gervinho and Kalou on the flanks. Kolo Toure will again start on the bench as Zokora and Bamba will get the nod ahead of him.

DATE: June 19, 2014

TIME: 5:00 PM BST

VENUE: Estadio Nacional de Brasilia, Brasilia, Distrito Federal

REFEREE: H. Webb

PROBABLE LINE-UPS:
Colombia (4-4-1-1):- Ospina; Armero, Zapata, Yepes, Zuniga; Cuadrado, Guarin, Aguilar, Rodriguez; Martinez; Gutierez
Ivory Coast (4-2-3-1):- Barry; Djakpa, Bamba, Zokora, Aurier; Tiote, Die; Gervinho, Toure, Kalou; Bony

LAST MATCH:
Colombia:- 3-0 vs Greece
Ivory Coast:- 2-1 vs Japan

AUTHOR’s PREDICTION: Colombia 3-1 Ivory Coast

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