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  • June 14, 2014
  • • 9:00 PM
  • • Itaipava Arena Pernambuco, Recife, Pernambuco
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World Cup Preview: Cote d'Ivoire - Japan

World Cup Preview: Cote d'Ivoire - Japan

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The African side has never managed to get beyond the group stage in the finals but a win over Alberto Zaccheroni's men will boost its chances of progressing

Cote d'Ivoire is looking to open its third consecutive World Cup finals with a victory as it meets Japan in the first game of the tournament in Brazil.

The Elephants reached the 2006 and 2010 finals but were eliminated at the group stages after finishing third each time and having failed to win their opening game each time.

With the golden generation of Yaya and Kolo Toure, Didier Drogba and Didier Zokora all over 30, this could be their final appearance at the summer showpiece and they have failed to win a single international title.

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The Africans must contest Group C with Greece, Colombia and Japan, as they look to progress into the second round for the first time, and kick off the tournament against Alberto Zaccheroni's side.

The two sides have only met three times, with Japan emerging victorious twice while Ivory Coast won their most recent meeting in a friendly four years ago.

While the Ivorians have big-name stars such as Toure, Drogba, Gervinho, Wilfried Bony and Salomon Kalou, Japan has high-profile players too, in Hiroshi Kiyotake, Shinji Kagawa, Keisuke Honda and Shinji Okazaki.

The teams are completely different in style. Japan is a youthful, agile and fast-paced team but is somewhat vulverable defensively, which the muscly and experienced Ivorians will look to capitalize on.

And Kolo Toure insists his side has learned lessons from its last two World Cups and is ready to improve on the group stage eliminations.

"In 2006 we were in dreamland," Toure told FIFA's official website. "It was the first time our country had ever qualified for such a big competition. We were naive and we didn’t focus enough on the job in hand.

"In 2010 I felt we were a little bit stronger, thanks to the experience we’d had four years earlier. We were more determined when we went to South Africa but it was not enough. We have made some progress, though, and it’s good for us to have survivors from the last two World Cups in the team today.

"We’ve learned the lessons of the past and we’re making sure we pass on our knowledge to the younger players."

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Ivory Coast

Japan

Wins
2
0
0
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Côte d'Ivoire CIV
Côte d'Ivoire Ivory Coast
Draw
Japan JPN
Japan Japan
36%
15%
49%

Top 3 Predictions

Côte d'Ivoire CIV
1 - 2
Japan JPN
Côte d'Ivoire CIV
2 - 1
Japan JPN
Côte d'Ivoire CIV
1 - 1
Japan JPN

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