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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Ivory Coast World Cup Preview 2014

Ivory Coast has the nickname of the Elephants and they have to be happy to be out of the Group of Death, which they played in 2010 and did not advance. They have a good attack and a decent midfield, but the squad tends to lack the team game and that has hurt them in big international tournaments. They are tied for the 2nd best odds to win the group and they have the best odds to win the World Cup than any other African squad.

Group Preview

Ivory Coast is not in the toughest of pools in Group C along with Greece, Japan, and Colombia. They face a technically talented squad in Japan in their first match and while the African nation may have more talent on the pitch they have to not get frustrated by the Japanese style of play. The 2nd may be one to watch since each team has a strong attack.

In their last match they face a team from Greece that has one of the better defensive squads in the World Cup.
BETTING ODDS

Odds to win World Cup: +12500

Odds to win Group: +375

Odds to finish bottom of group: +225

Best World Cup Finish: Group Stage (2006, 2010)

World Cup Match Schedule

14/06/14 Ivory Coast vs. Japan - Arena Pernambuco

19/06/14 Colombia vs. Ivory Coast - Nacional

24/06/14 Greece vs. Ivory Coast - Estadio Castel√£o

Qualifying

Ivory Coast did not lose a match in African World Cup qualifying and in the mandatory players they won 4-2 on aggregate facing Senegal. The Elephants scored in all 10 of their qualifying matches and while they did have 4 clean sheets that was facing inferior opponents. They failed to register a clean sheet in their last 4 qualifying matches. Overall, they went 6-0-4 and after qualifying they lost their first four friendly matches and did not look very impressive even though they played a couple of legit squads.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Didier Drogba was once one of the best strikers in the world and can he lead the squad’s attack this summer? Manchester City’s Yaya Toure and Liverpool’s Kolo Toure are a couple of great midfielders that have big match experience and each has the talent to press forward on the attack. The Elephants had issues in qualifying giving up late goals, as almost half the ones they conceded came in the last 15 of the match. The defense is also not a great one and the midfield will be counted on to help the back line out.

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