Ivory Coast vs Greece World Cup 2014 match preview: African nation looking to overcome tragedy of Ibrahim Toure's death
Kolo Toure and Yaya Toure's younger brother Ibrahim died of cancer last week
Tuesday 24 June 2014
Ivory Coast have the chance to make history when they take on Greece in Fortaleza today – and, with it, lift the morale of both their nation and two grief-stricken squad members.
Kolo and Yaya Toure lost their younger brother, Ibrahim, to cancer last week and with Ivory Coast currently afflicted by severe flooding too, coach Sabri Lamouchi said he hoped to provide some good news by leading the Elephants to qualification for the World Cup second round for the first ever time.
"Obviously what happened to the brother is a tragedy all of us, and I would like to send our condolences to the family," Lamouchi said. "Obviously there are events in the Ivory Coast right now – there have been a lot of floods – and we are really concerned. This is not a good situation to play a match. With tomorrow’s match, we can send a positive message."
Ivory Coast sit second in Group C and will guarantee their progress to the last 16 if they beat Greece. A draw would be enough too provided that third-placed Japan did not beat Colombia by a two-goal margin or more. Greece, for their part, could yet climb from fourth place to second provided they won and Japan lost to Colombia.
"It’s a decisive match tomorrow," said Lamouchi, who refused to confirm whether Didier Drogba would start the match. The former Chelsea striker has come off the bench in the Ivorians’ opening two games, the victory over Japan and defeat by Colombia.
"I have 23 Ivorians and they all want to make history, whoever happens to be on the pitch,” said Lamouchi. “We’ve been working together for 40 days and we’ve been preparing for two years and I’ve never seen them work so hard. They’ve handled themselves as great professionals because this match is important to Ivory Coast."
It is so important, in fact, that newspaper reports suggest a government official has visited the camp with a pledge to double the players’ £14, 300 win bonus per player should they prevail against the Greeks today.
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