20 June 2014

Cote d'Ivoire: Ivorians Still in Running for World Cup

Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix
Yaya Toure evades a tackle from Carlos Sanchez of Colombia during their World Cup clash (file photo).

Cote d'Ivoire's defeat at the hands of Colombia in Brasilia on Thursday was certainly disappointing for the African side, but by no means fatal to their second-round hopes.

Colombia triumphed 2-1 after a quick-fire brace within four minutes in the second half, and on the balance of play deserved their success. The Ivorians had their moments though and bar a few errors, their display was decent enough.

Greece's woeful 0-0 draw with Japan means that a draw in their final game against the European side should be enough to get the Elephants into the second round, as long as Japan don't spring a major surprise and defeat Colombia by two clear goals.

Greece have shown nothing in this World Cup to show that they can hurt Sabri Lamouchi's side, though the carrot of a Last 16 place remains dangling for them too if they can get a win.

Lamouchi was pleased overall with his side's performance against the Colombians, suggesting a draw may have been a fairer result.

“We didn't deserve to lose, I feel a draw would have been fair,” he told reporters. “We made a few untimely errors and paid a heavy price. I'm not going to get too carried away with what went on, there are only some small things to iron out ahead of the next game. We'll now go back to our camp and get plenty of rest.”

The goal-scoring hero for Colombia, James Rodriguez, certainly believes the African team will get the better of Greece.

“This game was tougher than our previous one, because Côte d'Ivoire have better players [than Greece] and are physically stronger. That's why these three points feel harder earned,” the Monaco striker said.

For Colombia it was the first time they had won successive matches at a World Cup finals. Their place in the knockout phase is secure, whether they win, lose or draw against the Japanese.

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