World Cup 2014

Greece vs. Ivory Coast: 2014 FIFA World Cup | Group C Match Preview

Greece vs. Ivory Coast, Group C (June 24, 2014)

Photo Credit: 
Gabriel de los Rios / MLSsoccer.com

Greece vs. Ivory Coast
2014 FIFA World Cup
June 24 | 4 pm ET | Estadio Castelão, Fortaleza, Brazil
TV: ESPN2/UniMas in US, CBC in Canada

For Ivory Coast, it's win and they move on to the knockout stage for the first time in their history at a World Cup, while Greece are looking for their second-ever World Cup win in the Group C finale. Although they currently sit in last place in the group, Greece still have a chance of advancing to the Round of 16 as well, as long as they win this game.

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FOR IVORIANS, THE TIME IS NOW: Ivory Coast have one of the most talented World Cup squads on paper, but tough group draws in the last two World Cups mean they haven't fulfilled their billing to date. Still, all they need is a win against the Greeks and they will finally break their duck at the World Cup and make it past the group stage.

And despite some talent coming through the pipeline and featuring in Brazil, including highly touted 21-year-old right back Serge Aurier, the bulk of the impact players are over 30 or nearing that mark. And with influential striker Didier Drogba, in what must be his final World Cup at 36, the Ivorians can't afford to wait four more years to see if they can finally make some waves.

WHO WANTS TO SCORE FOR GREECE? The Greeks haven't scored in two games in Brazil, and they are building a scoreless streak that currently stretches back to the final group-stage game in South Africa. With a win the only route for Greece to advance from Group C, they will need goals against the Ivory Coast. Although striker Kostas Mitroglou is fighting an injury heading into the game, he will likely be the focal point for the Greek attack if he is fit enough to play.

GERVINHO ON FORM: He may have never really settled in at Arsenal, but Gervinho's bounce-back season with Roma has catapulted him into a strong tournament with Ivory Coast through two games. Scoring in each game so far (including this goal against Colombia), the forward has shown he's got some of the best footwork of any soccer player on the planet. If he continues this form, he could be a Best XI performer.

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THE STAR YOU KNOW:

  • Didier Drogba, forward, Ivory Coast -- Who else? Drogba likely won't enter the game until around the hour mark, but he has helped pick up the Ivorian attack in each game after coming off the bench. And with time running out on his World Cup dreams, Drogba is sure to do everything he can to extend his country's stay in Brazil. The man is willing to do it all, including saving his own goal:

THE PLAYER WHO WILL SURPRISE YOU:

  • Georgios Samaras, forward, Greece -- Greece are looking for someone, anyone, to score, and Samaras has been getting consistent minutes. Add to that the fact that he's looking for a new club team to join after the World Cup, so his motivation level is sure to be high, and perhaps he can write his name into Greek lore with a timely goal.