Colombia v Ivory Coast preview: Victory for Didier Drogba's side will allow people to start 'dreaming', says coach

Sabri Lamouchi knows three points today will take Ivory Coast into the last 16 for the first time

Ivory Coast coach Sabri Lamouchi is hoping that his team will make history – and put their fans in dreamland – on Thursday when they take on Colombia in their second Group C fixture.

LIVE: Follow the latest news as England play Uruguay, plus Colombia v Ivory Coast and Japan v Greece

If the Elephants beat Colombia, they will gain a three-point lead at the top of the group and, with it, take a big step towards reaching the World Cup’s last 16 for the first time. Indeed they could end the day qualified for the next phase with three points in Brasilia and a favourable result in the group’s other game between Japan and Greece.

“I am not a dreamer but that won’t stop me being ambitious,” said Lamouchi. “If we beat Colombia, I won’t be able to stop other people from dreaming.”

Ivory Coast started their third successive World Cup campaign with a 2-1 win over Japan on Saturday but Lamouchi expects a “completely different” challenge against the Colombians, who opened with an impressive 3-0 success over Greece.

"There will be two entirely opposed styles,” Lamouchi added. “We know it will be a difficult match, where there won’t be too much space and where you’ll have to win your midfield battles to impose your style of play.

“We will have to fight a bit more and be technically stronger,” he added. “We need to make fewer mistakes and be more focused that we were against Japan.”

 

Ivory Coast will be missing forward Didier Ya Konan owing to a knee injury, meaning there is a greater likelihood of Didier Drogba starting the match after he came off the bench against Japan. Meanwhile, Yaya Toure will play despite admitting earlier this week that he had been suffering the effects of an adductor strain.

To counter the power of Toure, Colombia coach Jose Pekerman may reinforce his midfield with either Alexander Mejí or Fredy Guarin, and the question is whether their quick, skilful football can prevail over the Elephants’ power. “We’ve got a highly difficult match in front of us against an experienced rival,” said Pekerman, who as Argentina coach oversaw a 2-1 victory over Ivory Coast at the 2006 World Cup.

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