Colombia v Ivory Coast Preview

Group C | Thursday June 19 | Estádio Nacional de Brasilia, Brasília | 18:00




Group C favourites Colombia take on Ivory Coast’s golden generation as both sides come into the game in good form following impressive results in their opening matches. A win for either side will put them on top of the group with just one match remaining.

To Win (90mins)
Colombia 11/10 
Draw 9/4 
Ivory Coast 26/10

COLOMBIA

Any lingering doubts about Colombia’s ability to score without star striker Radamel Falcao have been ruthlessly put to bed after the team disposed of former European champions Greece, 3-0.

Manager Jose Pekerman opted to play with just one up front, a formation that looks to suit their star-in-the-making, James Rodriguez.

Rodriguez was stationed just behind lone striker Teofilo Gutierrez, which meant he was able to have a much bigger influence on the game.

He did just that against Greece as he had a hand in their first two goals and banged in the third himself. With Rodriguez pulling the strings, Colombia is a handful for any defence.

The two wingers either side of Rodriguez, Juan Cuadrado and Victor Ibarbo, were also excellent as they constantly tormented the Greek defence.

Cuadrado is renowned for his blistering pace, which aided him in a fruitful season in Serie A, scoring 15 goals.

The pair could have another field day against the Ivory Coast and expose the space left by their attack-minded fullbacks.

Colombia’s central midfield duo of Carlos Sanchez and Abel Aguilar didn’t have the best of games against Greece’s less talented midfield.

Ivory Coast presents a step up in both quality and physicality in the middle of the park, a step those two must also take for Colombia to prevail.

Falcao, of course, is missing, which isn't only a shame for his nation, but also for the neutrals who would have been looking forward to seeing him in action.

That doesn't mean Los Cafeteros don't have other options to turn to. Jackson Martinez had an explosive season with Porto last year, scoring 28 goals in all competitions.

He is a prolific finisher who will be attempting to fill the sizeable boots of Falcao.

IVORY COAST

Ivory Coast are in the same boat as Colombia in terms of what they need to do to reach the last 16 for the first time.

However, their opening win was achieved the hard way, conceding early to Japan but hitting back with two goals in the space of three second half minutes.

They opted to leave a couple of the old guard, Didier Drogba and Kolo Toure on the bench against Japan and the decision to start with Wilfried Bony up front paid dividends.

In contrast to 2010 and 2006, when the Ivorians finished both group stage campaigns with four points and missed out on the knockout rounds, they are now tantalisingly close to qualifying with the insurance of a game against Greece to come.

There isn't much to go on in terms of recent matches against South American countries but they lost to Argentina (2-1) in the 2006 finals and Brazil (3-1) in 2010 and this will be the first meeting between these teams. Drogba and Bony could be particularly significant figures.

The pair are both powerful and prolific strikers capable of striking fear in opposing defences. Their brute force should be complemented by the speed and trickery of Gervinho.

The ex-Arsenal player has been rejuvenated since swapping North London for Italian Serie A side Roma. Salomon Kalou will look to attack Colombia from the onset.

The Ivorian 4-3-3 formation gives Kalou the license to attack at will with two central defensive midfielders in the line-up.

Betting Prediction: COLOMBIA 11/10
This game promises to be a tight affair with both sides in good form. Colombia are favourites at 11/10 while Ivory Coast are valued at 26/10. The match could go anyway with either side capable of nicking the win. Colombia to win looks more likely but the under 2.5 goals market looks a solid bet at 15/20.  

Written by Chadley Nagel for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now! 

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