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  • June 24, 2014
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Greece - Cote d'Ivoire Preview: Elephants in pole position to secure runner-up spot

Greece - Cote d'Ivoire Preview: Elephants in pole position to secure runner-up spot

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Sabri Lamouchi's men know a win will see them through to the round of 16, while the Europeans must defeat their opponents and hope for favours elsewhere

By Robin Bairner in Fortaleza

Either Cote d'Ivoire or Greece - potentially both - will play their final match of this year's World Cup at the Estadio Castelao on Tuesday.

The equation is simple for the Africans - win and they are through to the last 16 for the first time; lose or draw and they must hope that Colombia avoid defeat against Japan. For Greece the situation is rather more complicated, with their future resting entirely on their ability to win only a second finals match in nine attempts.

Cote d'Ivoire must bounce back from a 2-1 loss at the hands of Colombia last time out, though their opening match success over Japan suggests that they have the firepower to overcome the Europeans.

Greece have yet to even find the net in the competition thus far. After losing 3-0 against the South Americans as the curtain lifted on their tournament, they responded with a typically gritty scoreless draw against the Samurai Blue, having seen Kostas Katsouranis dismissed - with the veteran of 113 caps subsequently banned for this encounter.

Head coach Fernando Santos, who will step down at the end of the competition, has seen Kostas Manolas and Kostas Mitroglou, who was withdrawn in the first half of the Japan clash, train apart from the group owing to minor injury problems, but both are expected to be fit to feature in this encounter, though the latter could well be dropped.

The wizened figure of Giorgos Karagounis is expected to win his 138th cap in this clash, probably from the start of the game for the first time at this competition.

Meanwhile, a shadow has been cast over the camp of the African side owing to the death of the Ibrahim Toure, younger brother of Yaya and Kolo, on Friday. Both men will carry on in the competition and will be eager to honour their sibling by securing progress through to the knockout stages.

No dramatic alterations are expected in Sabri Lamouchi’s starting XI, although it is possible that Yaya Toure will occupy a more defensive role, allowing Salomon Kalou to come into the team in a more offensive position.

Players to watch

G. Karagounis

Position: Midfielder

Games: 4

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0

Giorgos Karagounis has been pivotal to Greece's success over the course of the last decade and on Tuesday his era could draw to an end. The 37-year-old playmaker, however, will want one final taste of knockout football and must inspire his side from the No.10 role. Greece have failed to create chances in this competition thus far, and there is a weigh of expectation on the Fulham veteran.

Y. Gervinho

Position: Attacker

Games: 3

  • 2
  • 0
  • 0

Gervinho proved against Colombia, against whom he scored a fine solo goal, that he is a player who can conjure a goal from nothing. Arsenal fans certainly did not see the best of the winger, but he has enjoyed a fine year at Roma and his individual flair could be vital in unsettling an immobile Greek defence that does not cope well with quick forwards of his ilk. 

Editor's Prediction

The end of the road will come for one of these two veteran sides, but Cote d'Ivoire’s superior offensive power should ensure they secure the win to progress. At some stage the Greeks will have to go seeking a goal, and that will not suit their negative style. If they were to score first, however, that could change everything.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Greece

Côte d'Ivoire

Wins
1
0
0
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Greece GRC
Greece Greece
Draw
Côte d'Ivoire CIV
Côte d'Ivoire Côte d'Ivoire
37%
54%

Top 3 Predictions

Greece GRC
0 - 2
Côte d'Ivoire CIV
Greece GRC
1 - 0
Côte d'Ivoire CIV
Greece GRC
1 - 2
Côte d'Ivoire CIV

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