• Fri
  • Jul 25, 2014
  • Updated: 11:51am
World Cup 2014
SportSoccer
COLOMBIA V IVORY COAST

Possession key to curbing Elephants' speed and power

For two unbeaten sides, victory in this group C match virtually guarantees passage into last 16

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 June, 2014, 10:46pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 June, 2014, 1:10am

Colombia are planning to rely on a possession game to combat the speed and power of Ivory Coast when the two sides meet in Brasilia.

It is a group C match in which there is everything to gain for two sides who began their campaigns with victories.

Colombia top the group after a dominant 3-0 victory over Greece, while Ivory Coast hit back from a goal down to beat Japan 2-1.

The Japanese struggled to make their high-tempo, highenergy game plan work against the Africans but Colombia midfielder Fredy Guarin says the South Americans will look to bypass the physical advantages of the Elephants by making the ball do the work.

They're a very physically strong team who fight for every ball and will rely on their physicality to try to beat us, but with our football, our passing and control of the ball we can have success
Colombia's Fredy Guarin

The Inter Milan player said Colombia were ready for the match against opponents who are "powerful and very fast".

"They're a very physically strong team who fight for every ball and will rely on their physicality to try to beat us, but with our football, our passing and control of the ball we can have success," said the 27-year-old.

"We have to be very intelligent, always keep the game under control, don't give the ball away and take a breather with the ball, but above all have confidence in what we're doing."

A victory for either side would potentially secure their passage into the last 16, depending on the result between Japan and Greece, but although he didn't say as much, Guarin suggested Colombia would be happy to settle simply for a clean sheet.

The physical approach Ivory Coast are likely to bring could include the presence of Didier Drogba up front after his game-changing entry off the substitutes' bench against Japan.

Wilfried Bony had a disappointing game on his own up front and after the game Elephants coach Sabri Lamouchi, the former France midfielder, paid tribute to his veteran forward for his impact.

"His appearance changed the game. He brought in two or three players [to mark him] and the team created favourable situations," said Lamouchi.

He also had praise for midfielder Yaya Toure, who was another far from his best, although he has been struggling with a hamstring injury recently.

The main plus side for the Africans is that after group stage elimination in 2006 and 2010, at least this time they have begun their campaign with a victory.

In 2006 they were eliminated before their final group game win over Serbia-Montenegro.

Four years ago they were still in with a chance of progressing ahead of their final match against North Korea, whom they beat 3-0, but only after a draw with Portugal and defeat to Brazil.

Portugal's 7-0 thrashing of North Korea had meant the Elephants would need to pile on the goals to stand any chance but in the end the Europeans drew with Brazil and the chance was gone.

This time around they will reach their final group game against Greece on June 24 with their destiny in their own hands.

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