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World Cup: Greece v Ivory Coast

 

 

 

Greece Screenshot 2014-05-31 10.43.12

• Despite not scoring a goal in the tournament, Greece can still progress with a win if Japan fails to beat Colombia. • Although they need a win they aren’t likely to leave themselves exposed defensively.
• May feel some physical effects of playing with ten men for over half a game against Japan.

Unavailable

Katsouranis – DM – Suspension

Team News

Doubtful

Manolas – CB – 90% Mitroglou – ST – 30%

Returning

None

Expected Team (4-5-1/4-3-3)

Screenshot 2014-06-24 13.36.27

Greece will be forced into a chance in midfield with Katsouranis suspended for picking up a red card in the first half against Japan. Karagounis came off the bench to good effect when Katsouranis was sent-off but there are concerns by the coach over his ability to play 90 minutes so if he does start he isn’t likely to last the full game. Tziolis is another option to replace Katsouranis if coach Santos opts not to go with Karagounis. Tziolis a more defensive minded replacement.

In attack Mitroglou was forced off the pitch through injury early in the game and although he reportedly should be back in contention for a start in this game it seems doubtful he would be risked from the start if he was going to break down again. Gekas has been the first choice back up for Mitroglou though there is a case for playing Samaras in the more central role it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Gekas start.

Centre back Manolas was exhausted at the end of the Japan game due to the effort he put in, they have taken it easy in training with him since the game but he is expected to be fine to play which is a big positive as he has been one of the standout players for Greece.

On the right wing Fetfatzidis was given a start against Japan ahead of Salpingidis and didn’t really excel before being replaced when Katsouranis was dismissed. Salpingidis may regain his place with Fetfatzidis being used from the bench.

Bench (from): Glykos GK, Kapino GK, Moras CB, Vyntra CB/RB, Tzavellas LB, Tziolis DM, Samaris CM, Tachtsidis CM, Fetfatzidis RW, Christodoulopoulos LW, Mitroglou ST

Tactical Keys to the Game:

  •   Having failed to score a goal in their opening two games the question for Greece has to be where the goals will come from? Mitroglou and Gekas have not looked dangerous enough, their most dangerous attacker has been Samaras but his best work has come outside the penalty area in winning free kicks and holding the ball up. This is not positive in a game they have to win.
  •   The Greek strengths from the Japan match were all defensively where they held their shape well and broke up play effectively. They are more comfortable when the emphasis is not on them to attack.
  •   Playing for over half a game with 10 men against Japan will have expended a lot of energy, especially due to the amount of running and closing down off the ball. Tiredness may be a factor during the game.

    Motivational Keys to the Game:

  •   The equation for Greece is that they must win the game and hope that Japan fail to beat Colombia. Having not actually performed well so far that they still have a chance of qualifying is somewhat of a bonus, though expectation is not high.
  •   Any news of what is happening in the other group game may impact motivation during the match and this is something to be aware of.

 

 

 

Ivory Coast Screenshot 2014-05-31 10.09.31

• Toure brothers doubtful after the death of their younger brother this week.
• Gradel and Bony’s places under threat with Drogba, Kalou and Bolly all competing for starts. • Win guarantees progression but draw could be enough. Lamouchi states intention to win.

Unavailable

Zokora – CB – Suspension

Team News

Doubtful

Y. Toure – CM – 60% K. Toure – CB – 60% YaKonan -ST–20%

Returning

None

Expected Team

Screenshot 2014-06-24 13.36.37

The biggest doubts for the Ivory Coast side are the Toure brothers. Both were expected to fly home following the death of their younger brother but it has since been revealed that they are more likely to remain in Brazil for the Greece game. Kolo Toure hasn’t started either of the first two games but is going to be the first choice replacement for the suspended Didier Zokora. Lamouchi will need to assess the mental state of the pair before making a decision on whether they should start.

If the decision is not to play them then the centre back spot to replace Zokora could be Viera, who only has one cap. Brother Yaya could be replaced by a number of players with Kalou or Bolly coming in to play within a 4-2-3-1 formation with slight changes of positioning across the offensive midfield three if necessary.

Bolly or Kalou could replace Gradel anyway whose end product was poor during the defeat to Colombia whilst Drogba once again had a positive impact off the bench in that match this time replacing Bony and he will certainly be a contender to start in place of him this time. Ya Konan is a doubt once again with a knee problem.

The back 5 is expected to remain the same as are central midfielders Tiote and Serey Die whilst Gervinho has certainly taken his impressive club form into this tournament with a fine goal in the week so he should retain his place as well.

Bench (from): Gbohouo GK, Sayouba GK, Akpa Akpro RB, Viera CB, Djakpa LB, Diomande CM, Kalou AM, Bolly ST, Drogba ST, Sio ST, Ya Konan ST

Tactical Keys to the Game:

  •   Lamouchi has stated that Ivory Coast will look to attack so expect them to play with an offensive approach despite a draw potentially being enough to see them progress.
  •   The strength of the side is undoubtedly the offensive midfielders who possess skill and pace. Gervinho has been in excellent form down the left hand side and is a major threat. Pace and individual skill might be required against a side like Greece whose game is based on defensive organisation.
  •   The centre back area hasn’t been one of great comfort in this tournament already and could be even more vulnerable with the absences in this match.

    Motivational Keys to the Game:

  •   Having failed to get past the group stages in their last two World Cups Ivory Coast are one win away from securing a place in the last 16 and might only need a draw as long as Japan don’t beat Colombia by a couple of goals. Lamouchi has said however that they will approach the game purely as if they need to win.
  •   The motivation will stem from a personal level as well. There is a strong unity between the players in the group and it has been a troublesome week off the field with the Toure brothers suffering personal tragedy following the death of their younger brother. How the team responds to this will be essential.

 

Football Form Labs Betting Preview:
Greece (22) v Ivory Coast (20) Tuesday 24th June 21:00 BST

A draw should be enough to see Ivory Coast safely through to the knockout stages but with Greece needing to win the match we could be in for a different type of match than we’ve become accustomed to with Fernando Santos’ side.

Although Greece were thrashed 3-0 by Colombia in their opener the 0-0 draw they managed against Japan was impressive as they played the majority of the match with 10 men. Any team that fails to score in their opening two games but still has their qualification fate in their own hands in the final game has every reason to feel hopeful. Greece have lost just two of their last 14 matches with eight victories but they’ve won just five of their last 22 matches against teams ranked 11-30. Five of their last six games against African opposition have had Under 2.5 Goals.

Ivory Coast could be without Kolo and, more importantly, Yaya Toure for this game as the brothers were granted compassionate leave to fly back to the UK after the sudden death of their brother. The Toures have decided to remain in Brazil for this match but whether they play or not is unknown as yet. In contrast to Greece, six of Ivory Coast’s seven World Cup matches since 2006 have had Over 2.5 Goals as they’ve won three times and lost three times and kept just two clean sheets. Both teams have netted in their last nine Internationals and it’s now been 25 games since they failed to score in a match.

Since 1990, Greece have conceded in 160 Internationals and 61% of the matches have had Over 2.5 Goals as they’ve avoided defeat in 56% of the fixtures. Their record when conceding in Finals however is much worse: W2-D2-L12 over the same time-span with nine Over 2.5 Goals games. 56% of final group stage matches in which the higher-ranked side has netted have featured Over 2.5 Goals since 1970.

It seems a little risky to get too heavily staked in wanting goals in a Greece match but with Ivory Coast’s tendency to be involved in high-scoring games, their goal scoring streak and the Greeks needing a win we prefer Over 2.5 Goals to an Ivory Coast win – both are similarly priced.

 

Recommendation:

Over 2.5 Goals at $2.10 with Screenshot 2014-05-21 12.49.05 

 

 

 

 

Screenshot 2014-06-12 20.13.28

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