FIFA World Cup Soccer 2014 Group C Pick and Preview
Saturday 14th June 17:00(GMT)
The Line: Colombia 5/6 Ivory Coast 7/2 Japan 4/1 Greece 6/1 See the Latest Odds
TV: UTV; Fox Sports; BBC Sports; ESPN
Star Man: James Rodriguez
USA TODAY Sports
Manager: Jose Pekerman
First thing is first Colombia are missing their best player Ramadal Falcao is missing out on the World Cup but this is a talented bunch with the stage set for Monaco's £45million man James Rodriguez to step up and be the main man. Jackson Martinez the Porto center forward will be relied upon to deliver the goals for his side in Falcao's absence. A very strong midfield that includes teh aforementioned Rodrigues, Guarin (inter Milan) and Zuniga (Napoli) will be the key if the Colombians are to progress ot the knockout stages in their return to the World Cup stage after a 16 year absence. I think this is an attractive ball playing team and they will be tough to beat and have goal scorers in their squad but I do think they may struggle to handle the Physicality of the Ivory Coast.
Prediction for Group: Group Runners Up
Star Man: Giorgios Samaras
Manager: Fernando Santos
Greece are always tough to beat especially in qualification but in their two appearances at the world cup Greece have lost five of their six games and won one. This is a very tough group for Greece as the style of football preferred by their opponents will be fast and furious and will not readily suit the counter attacking style Greece prefer to play.While the Greeks do have a couple of good strikers in Samaras and Mitroglou their defence is where they have always been strongest. A teak tough defence with a couple of hard men in the center and a solid goalkeeper will mean that if Greece are to advance it will be relying on not conceding and hitting the opponents on the break. I just dont see them being able to do that enough in this Group and think they will comeup short again in the big tournament.
Prediction: Group Exit
Team: Ivory Coast
Star Man: Ya Ya Toure
Manager: Sabri Lamouchie
This is the last chance for the Golden Generation from the Ivory Coast to finally fulfill their potential. Not many squads in the World Cup will be able to call on such talents as Ya Ya Toure, Didier Drogba, Sio, Bony and Gervinho. There is alot of attacking talent in this team and it really is now or never with Drogba's career coming to an end and Toure and his brother the wrong side of 30. Defensively this team may be lacking the players to actually win the tournament but in a wide open Group against teams that like to play the ball on the deck (in Japan & Colombia) I think the Ivory Coast have a real chance to qualify for the knockout stages for the first time in their history and I think they will do it winning the Group in the process.
Prediction: Group Winners
Star Man: Shinji Kagawa
Manager: Alberto Zacheronni
I like Japan. They are busy and hard working and I am really struggling to not have them advance from this group but as much as I like them and their Italian coach I just do not see them getting the better of Colombia or the Ivory Coast. So its with regrets that I say Kagawa and his team mates will be looking at a group exit. It is possible though that the pressure gets to Colombia and if it does, Japan could well qualify here.
Prediction: Reluctantly Group Exit