Greece v Ivory Coast – Greek Gods Command VictoryStats
Greece v Ivory Coast
A draw may be enough for Ivory Coast, but Greece know that they must win. I preview what is a pivotal game in Group C.
Greece kept themselves in the hunt with a goalless draw against Japan last time out, and even carved out the better chances after going down to ten men seven minutes before half time. Captain Kostas Katsouranis was shown a red card for a second bookable offence on 38 minutes, but the Greeks still pushed forward looking for the win.
Fernando Santos’s men are now slightly reliant on table-toppers Colombia doing them a favour, but can be confident that a win against Ivory Coast here will book their place in the knockout stages of the World Cup. If Japan were to beat Colombia then Greece would need to overcome a two-goal deficit in the goal difference column to keep fate in their own hands.
Ivory Coast will also want Colombia to take at least a point from the game against Japan, which would mean that the Elephants need only a draw against Greece to ensure that it is they who go through to the last 16. A victory sees the African nation progress regardless of what happens in the other Group C game.
Having started the group with a come-from-behind win against Japan, Sabri Lamouchi’s men lost by the same 2-1 scoreline in their second game against Colombia; the first goal coming from a rare James Rodriguez header and the second from a trademark Colombia breakaway. Gervinho reduced the deficit with a superb solo goal on 73 minutes to set up a grandstand finish, but the score would remain unaltered in the final 17 minutes.
Kostas Katsouranis will be unavailable for the Greeks due to suspension, but Kostas Mitroglou is expected to play despite being taken off midway through the first half against Japan with a side injury.
Didier Zokora will not be available for Ivory Coast selection as he serves a one-game ban following yellow cards received in each of the first two group games. Yaya Toure managed 90 minutes against Colombia and is expected to play despite the premature death of his 28-year-old brother earlier in the week. Didier Drogba may have to settle for a place on the bench for the third game running.
This will be the first ever meeting between Greece and Ivory Coast, while the Europeans have lost their only two previous meetings against African opposition at the World Cup.
I’ve sided with Greece in my previews for each of their first two games and despite disappointing results I’ve seen enough to convince me that they’re worth sticking with here at odds of 14/5.
Ivory Coast have impressed in patches, but look way too short at odds of 21/20 in game that they do not necessarily need to win.
In a tournament littered with goals it would be rude not to take odds against prices about there being three or more in this game. Greece have created plenty of chances in their two games, while both teams have scored in each of Ivory Coast’s last ten international fixtures. Back Over 2.5 goals at odds of 11/10.