The final set of FIFA World Cup 2014 group games is upon us—where on earth did the time go?
Here we analyse Greece vs. Ivory Coast, where a win for the former or a draw/win for the latter takes them into the knockout stages.
It would be so Greece to go and beat the Ivory Coast and qualify in second place from Group C, wouldn't it?
The Piratiko have put in 180 awful minutes of football thus far, but Fernando Santos somehow managed to get his side out of their Euro 2012 group at the expense of Russia and it's feasible he can do the same here.
They've not been the defensive force we expected and they've been utterly wasteful in possession, but they have a habit of pulling it together at the right time. The Ivory Coast are a very counter-attackable outfit.
"With the hard work we've been putting in and a little luck, the goals will come," Kostas Mitroglou told FourFourTwo ahead of the game. "The task is simple. We have to win."
Ivory Coast are on the cusp of qualifying for the knockout stages of a World Cup for the first time in their history, and on paper, they're head and shoulders clear of this Greece side.
Pressure, though, is not something the Elephants have traditionally enjoyed, as this "golden generation" is slipping by without any form of trophy—not even on their home continent.
Didier Zokora is suspended after picking up two yellow cards, while Kolo and Yaya Toure's mental status will need to be assessed following the tragic passing of their brother Ibrahim Toure.
Didier Drogba will be pushing for a starting spot after another suspect Wilfried Bony performance.
2 Tactical Clashes
1. Georgios Samaras
Many football fans giggle at his ungainly footballing style, but Georgios Samaras is a key man for Greece for a good reason: He's very economical on the counter-attack.
He makes more good choices than bad ones and always represents himself as an outlet for relief. The fact that he lines up on the left side taking advantage of space behind Serge Aurier is a real bonus too.
With Aurier surging on and crossing, Samaras can receive the first ball out of defence, turn and go.
2. Jose Holebas
Jose Holebas is Greece's biggest weak link, and the fact that he's started both games so far suggests Santos has little faith in reserve options Georgios Tzavellas and Loukas Vyntra.
Colombia went straight for him in their opener and he got blitzed by Juan Guillermo Cuadrado, then Japan focused pressure down his side and carved out on particularly clear-cut chance that should have been put away.
Salomon Kalou seems set to start on the right, and it'll be similarly torturous if Gervinho drifts over.
Bleacher Report will do a tactical preview and review of every single 2014 FIFA World Cup game. Stay tuned to this link and check it every day for more.
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