World Cup Group C | Fortaleza | Wed 25 Jun | 4am
Defence against attack.
No goals, just a solitary point and yet Greece know a win against Ivory Coast gives them an excellent chance of progressing to the second round behind Colombia, after a spirited draw against Japan. Being reduced to 10 men before half-time seemed to galvanise Fernando Santos’ men, Theofanis Gekas going close with a second-half header as he did against Colombia.
They will also be buoyed by Ivory Coast’s defensive problems against Colombia, so despite their need for three points, don’t be surprised by a smash and grab approach from the Greeks.
Striker Konstantinos Mitroglou should recover from a blow to the head, while Georgios Karagounis is expected to replace the suspended Konstantinos Katsouranis in midfield and as captain.
Ivory Coast, meanwhile, could bring in Didier Drogba for Wilfried Bony, who he replaced following an ineffectual first half against Colombia. At the other end, makeshift centre-back Didier Zokora is out after picking up a second booking of the tournament – the last thing Les Elephants need given their limited resources in that position.
Attack might well be the best form of defence, then, although a point will be enough should Colombia avoid defeat to Japan.
What the local media say
“Greece have shown nothing in this World Cup,” according to allafrica.com, “though the carrot of a last 16 place remains dangling for them too if they can get a win.”
Key battle: Vasilis Torosidis vs Gervinho
It’s becoming increasingly obvious that Torosidis is not only Greece’s most accomplished player; he’s also their most potent attacker – even from right-back. After laying on several chances against Colombia, he was Greece’s most likely scorer himself against Japan, one particularly powerful effort being palmed away. The Roma raider may find himself backpeddling a bit more against Ivory Coast, with club-mate Gervinho in excellent form against Colombia, scoring a brilliant solo goal. Will their inside knowledge cancel each other out?
Facts and figures
- Greece have failed to score in 7 of their 8 World Cup games while their clean sheet last time out against Japan was their first ever at a World Cup.
- Ivory Coast have conceded 2 or more goals in 5 of their 8 World Cup matches.
- 8 of Ivory Coast’s 12 goals at the World Cup have been scored after the 60th minute of games.
More FFT Stats Zone facts
Surprisingly open. 2-2.