Greece vs Ivory Coast: World Cup 2014 match preview
A look ahead to a Group C match that can determine the second qualifier
Monday 23 June 2014
It is ‘crunch time’ for Greece and Ivory Coast as both sides have their last chance to earn a spot in the Round of 16 – a feat neither of the two teams have ever achieved.
Tragedy recently stroke for Yaya and Kolo Toure as their brother Ibrahim died on Thursday, but the brothers decided to stay and the Manchester City man will be expected to hold a deeper central midfielder role.
The Greeks have received a confidence boost after picking up a goalless draw against Japan, with 10 players throughout most of the match, but will have to do more than just rely on their rock-solid defence if they want to qualify.
Fernando Santos’s side will be missing captain Kostas Katsouranis, who was sent off against the Samurai Blue over two ridiculous challenges, and will be replaced by former Fulham midfielder Giorgos Karagounis.
Weirdly enough, the starting line-up may resemble the one against Colombia with the Cottagers’ Kostas Mitroglou being replaced by striker Fanis Gekas and Genoa winger Giannis Fetfatzidis sitting for Dimtris Salpingidis. There could also be a surprise with former Celtic man Giorgos Samaras starting up front.
Giannis Maniatis will start for Greece
KICK-OFF: Tuesday, 9pm
Both sides have never faced each other before
Greece picked up their first ever World Cup draw last week – they also got their first ever clean sheet.
Greece won their one and only World Cup match against an African side four years ago when the National beat Nigeria 2-1.
Ivory Coast have failed to qualify to the Round of 16 in two attempts. In fact, none of the two sides have ever qualified to the next round.
Eight of Ivory Coast’s 12 World Cup goals have been scored after the 60 minute.
Two of the Elephants’ three wins at the World Cup occurred after they have conceded a goal.
Greece to win: 3.75
Ivory Coast to win: 2.1
TV: Live on BBC Three at 9pm
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