Sabri Lamouchi has once again not found space in his Ivory Coast starting line-up for talismanic striker Didier Drogba after electing to stick with Swansea’s Wilfried Bony for their second Group C match against Colombia.
Drogba’s introduction during the opening 2-1 victory against Japan changed the game as the Elephants scored twice in two minutes to overturn the scores and get Lamouchi’s side off to a winning start. However, he has elected to stick with Bony as his lone striker, and he’ll be supported by former Arsenal winger Gervinho and Max Gradel, previously of Leeds.
Colombia meanwhile have named an unchanged line-up, meaning that all three goalscorers in the 3-0 win over Greece start in the shape of Pablo Armero, Teofilo Gitierrez and James Rodriguez.
Porto striker Jackson Martinez will have to make do with a spot among the substitutes once again, where he is joined by reported Manchester United target Fredy Guarin, who has been heavily linked this morning with a move to Old Trafford after the World Cup.
The match will see England's Howard Webb take charge of his first game at this year's tournament, which represents his first World Cup match since the 2010 final between Spain and Netherlands.
Ivory Coast: Group C team profile
Ivory Coast: Group C team profile
1/5 How they qualified
Ivory Coast limped into the World Cup finals in Brazil with a 4-2 aggregate win over Senegal in the African World Cup play-offs. After dominating Group C with an unbeaten record in the preliminary qualifying rounds – winning four and drawing two – the Elephants were handed a two-legged showdown against Alain Giresse’s Senegal and claimed a 3-1 victory in their home stadium. Senegal took a one-goal lead in the second leg, leaving Ivory Coast’s qualification in the balance as the hosts went in search of a 2-0 victory which would secure them a World Cup berth on away goals. But Salomon Kalou spared Ivory Coast further anxiety when he levelled the scores on the night to ensure Ivory Coast’s passage to the World Cup.
Sabri Lamouchi took charge of the Ivory Coast in 2012 to mark his first job in management. His controversial appointment was met with disapproval in some quarters after former boss François Zahoui was sensationally dismissed from the role. Lamouchi’s inexperience only heightened the discontent that arose in the wake of Ivory Coast’s managerial shake-up, while calls for continuity at the top fell on deaf ears. The incoming former France international enjoyed a rich playing career that included stints at Monaco, Marseille and Inter Milan. But his reputation was not enhanced by the Elephants performance at the Africa Cup of Nations early in 2013, which he himself branded a ‘failure’.
3/5 Star player
It was during the Ivory Coast’s inaugural FIFA World Cup appearance in 2006 when Yaya Toure first made his potential apparent. Despite Ivory Coast’s failure to clamber out of the group stages, Toure impressed and secured a switch from Olympiakos to Monaco in August 2006, a move which triggered his march from strength to strength. The box-to-box midfielder later enjoyed a spell at Barcelona before he settled at Manchester City – gathering plenty of silverware in the process. Toure has three times been named African Player of the Year and is lauded for his versatility. The 30 –year-old complements a potent attacking threat with industrious defensive displays and an impressive ability to transition between both.
4/5 Emerging talent
Right-back Serge Aurier is reportedly a transfer target for Arsene Wenger as he sets about locating a strong replacement for Bacary Sagna. Aurier showed great potential from a young age and made his Ligue 1 debut aged just 16 when playing for Lens. The 20-year-old moved to Toulouse in 2012 - despite interest from Premier League clubs such as Manchester City and Sunderland - and immediately made a place in the starting 11 his own. Aurier made his international debut in June 2013 and has represented the Ivory Coast seven times, including both legs against Senegal in the decisive two-legged play-off that confirmed Ivory Coast’s World Cup berth.
5/5 Formation (4-3-3)
Barry; Aurier, Bamba Souleymane, K Toure, Boka; Tiote, Serey Die, Y Toure; Gervinho, Drogba, Kalou
Colombia: David Ospina; Mario Yepes, Cristian Zapata, Pablo Armero; Juan Zuniga, Abel Aguilar, James Rodriguez, Carlos Sanchez, Juan Cuadrado, Victor Ibarbo; Teofilo Gutierrez.
Substitutes: Santiago Arias, Carlos Carbonero, Camilo Vargas, Fredy Guarin, Alexander Mejia, Eder Balanta, Carlos Bacca, Adrian Ramos, Juan Quintero, Jackson Martinez, Faryd Mondragon, Carlos Valdes.
Ivory Coast: Boubacar Barry; Serge Aurier, Souleyman Bamba, Arthur Boka, Didier Zokora; Cheick Tiote, Yaya Toure, Serey Die, Max Gradel; Gervinho, Wilfried Bony.
Substitutes: Ousmane Diarrassouba, Kolo Toure, Mathis Bolly, Daniel Akpa Akpro, Salomon Kalou, Didier Drogba, Didier Ya Konan, Ismael Diomande, Sylvain Gbohouo, Constant Djakpa, Giovanni Sio, Sayouba Mande.
Referee: Howard Webb (England).Reuse content