Group C of the 2014 FIFA World Cup features Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast and Japan. These four teams are pretty good, each have their glaring issues, each will provide glorious (or infamous) moments in the group stages.
Colombia is missing (at least in the group stages) world-class, world-beating, all-everything striker Radamel Falcao after tearing his ACL in January. If Falcao cannot play Colombia, won’t be toothless in attack! Teofilo Gutierrez plays his club soccer with River Plate in Argentina and will be counted heavily to spearhead their attack in Falcao’s absence. Colombia will play in an attacking 4-4-2 formation committing huge numbers going forward.
Colombian striker Radamel Falcao hasn’t recovered in time for the World Cup
If the other three teams are known for attacking spirit and endeavor, Greece is known for “parking the bus”, a strategy that commits heavily in defending and counterattacking play. Greece announced themselves on the international stage by winning the European championships in 2004 by what most pundits claimed were the most boring team to watch since football was invented. They play 10 men behind the ball with one man up top in Kostas Mitroglou. Also watch for wingers Dimitris Salpingidis and Giorgos Samaras because when Greece decides to attack, they will provide support for Mitroglou up top.
The 2014 FIFA World Cup may represent Ivory Coast’s best chance on getting out of the group stages. This generation of les Éléphants may feature for the last time in this fortnight in Group C if they don’t sort out their goal keeping issues. Household names in Didier Drogba, Kolo and Yaya Toure, Roma striker Gervinho and Salomon Kalou of Chelsea will feature. But in this case, Yaya Toure will be asked to do everything simply because he can do everything! He can defend, take free kicks and runs like a gazelle. You can’t outmuscle Yaya because he is stronger than the Klitschko brothers!
Yaya Toure in training
Lastly, Japan is on 150/1 odds to win the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Japan is known for its attacking prowess, creative midfield and slick passing. Keisuke Honda of AC Milan, Shinji Kagawa of Manchester United will feature heavily because Honda is their false nine, is “the one” in their 4-2-3-1 formation and Kagawa will sit behind him spraying passes everywhere. Japan is relatively new on the scene but they always do the basic things well. This year’s World Cup finals Japan has to prove they can withstand the heat and humidity because they wilted last year at the Confederations Cup.
I believe Japan and the Ivory Coast will make it out of the group, Colombia finishes third and Greece finishes fourth. The key match in this group is Ivory Coast vs. Japan on Saturday, June 14th. Both sides will play entertaining soccer but if Japan exposes Ivory Coast’s defensive liabilities, they will win this match.
Group C Schedule
JUN. 14 12:00 PM COLOMBIA VS. GREECE
JUN. 14 9:00 PM IVORY COAST VS. JAPAN
JUN. 19 12:00 PM COLOMBIA VS. IVORY COAST
JUN. 19 6:00 PM JAPAN VS. GREECE
JUN. 24 4:00 PM JAPAN VS. COLOMBIA
JUN. 24 4:00 PM GREECE VS. IVORY COAST