Colombia and Ivory Coast are looking to get their qualification sorted as soon as possible and they will get exactly that chance on Thursday when they square off in Brasilia.
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The Cafeteros are feeling very confident after a decisive 3-0 win against Greece and manager Jose Pekerman will be relying a lot on Monaco’s James Rodriguez and Fiorentina’s Juan Cuadrado, who both made a great impression last week. Star striker Radamel Falcao’s absence is not the only blow for Colombia as Sevilla striker Carlos Bacca suffered a leg injury and has been ruled out of the rest of the group stage.
Ivory Coast left Recife in good spirits after a 2-1 win over Japan, but now they will have to face much more difficult opposition. Chelsea legend Didier Drogba came from the bench and absolutely revived the team but it is not certain yet if he will be starting instead of Swansea striker Wilfried Bony.
Manager Sabri Lamouchi will be looking for Manchester City star Yaya Toure to put his power, skills and playmaker abilities to good use as he will be very important for the toning down of Colombia’s speed.
KICK-OFF: Thursday, 5pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS:
Both sides have never faced each other
Ever since 1966, Colombia have obtained the highest possession rate of 58 per cent, the most touches per game (794) and the best pass success rate at the World Cup.
The Cafeteros had more shots on target than anyone else at the South American World Cup qualifiers. The team amassed 99 shots.
Ivory Coast have the best goals/game rate than any other African team at the World Cup. The Elephants score almost two World Cup goals per match.
Colombia’s opponents are appearing in their third successive World Cup competition. Ghana is the only African nation that can match this.
Colombia to win: 6.5
Ivory Coast to win: 14.5
TV: Live on BBC One at 5pm