World Cup 2014 – Group C Match Report: Cote d’Ivoire 2-Japan 1

16 Jun

 

Japanese fans are funny.

 

Cote d’Ivoire: Bony 64’, Gervinho 66’
Japan: Honda 16’

Lineups:

Cote d’Ivoire
Barry, Aurier, Zokora, Bamba, Boka, Tiote, Serey, Kalou. Y. Toure, Geervinho, Bony

Japan
Kawashima, Uchida, Yoshida, Morishige, Nagatomo, Yamaguchi, Hasebe, Okazaki, Honda, Kagawa, Osako

I must apologize for the lateness of this match report. I got caught up in Sunday’s matches and then just came home and crashed. Bad Dr. P.

Cote d’Ivoire v. Japan was the fourth and final match on Saturday. Admittedly, I didn’t pay as close attention as I probably should have, but I can share the highlights.

First thing to note: Drogba did not start. He has been struggling with injuries lately and it is thought that at his age, he likely cannot play the whole 90 minutes. Instead, Coach Sabri Lamouchi thinks he will have a bigger impact as a substitute. Does it work? We’ll see.

Yaya Toure, who was a rock star for Manchester City this year (until they forgot his birthday) was fit enough to start, even though he had surgery a month ago.

The match starts with a Les Elephants attack. Within two minuts, Gervinho has his first chance on goal, but Uchida steals the ball. Bony has another chance a few minutes later, but again the Japanese defense manages to stop him.

Did I mention that it’s pouring? Is it rainy season in Brazil?

Much like the earlier group C match, there is a lot of running around with nothing happening until Nagatomo passes the ball to Honda who easily scores. Honda clearly has embraced his central role. Yay!

It almost seems like Barry had fallen asleep.

Things now start to get rough. Serey takes down Honda with his shoulder but avoids booking. Truthfully, it kind of looks like Honda ran into him. The first yellow card is issued minutes later to Yoshida for fouling Serey. Toure’s free kick goes over the top.

Toure attempts to get a penalty claiming that Hasebe’s hand clipped the ball. The referee ignores him.

Both teams have multiple shots on goal during the rest of the half, but nobody is able to score. Both defenses deserve credit.

The second half starts similarly. Cote d’Ivoire appear to be bumbling a bit as Tiote attempts to make a header with his shoulder. Japan also has a few early chances from Okazaki and Yamaguchi, but neither is able to score. Bamba brings down Okazaki and gets a yellow for it. Yoshida challenges Toure in the box, Toure goes down. Cote d’Ivoire appeals for a penalty (as it seems that may be the only way that they might score a goal) but are denied. Zokora gets a yellow for his complaining.

Your team is down 1-0. Your players seem confused about how to score, and a bit desperate. What do you do?

Yep, bring on Drogba. He’ll make everything better. He does appear to energize the team. Within a minute of starting, he backheels the ball to Gervinho who still appears confused (but wearing the good headband) and isn’t able to score. Drogba is then fouled by Morishige who gets a yellow. Two minutes playing and Drogba is having an impact.

Aurier crosses the ball to Bony who finally remembers to take a header with his head….and it goes in! Cote d’Ivoire score!

And then a minute later, Aurier again crosses the ball, this time to Gervinho. This time, Gervinho recognizes what a ball is, and heads it in to the goal. The ball literally slips through Kawashima’s fingers.

The Drogba effect seems to be working…

The match then returns to it’s previous form. Japan now seem to have given up and show no energy. There are a ton of shots on goal, most from Cote d’Ivoire. Boka is stretchered off with a knee injury. Substitute Konan also hobbles off with an injury.

Cote d’Ivoire win, but now have some injury concerns. Will Drogba start on Thursday? Or will he be a substitute again? Will Japan be fired up for their next match or will they stay asleep? Who knows? I do love the Japanese fans though.

japan-fans_1657916iNext matches:
Colombia v. Ivory Coast, Thursday, June 19th, 12pm EDT
Japan v. Greece, Thursday, June 19th , 6pm EDT

-Dr. P

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