Greece lightning unlikely to strike.
With three points on the board, the Ivory Coast are favourites to qualify as runners-up from Group C at the expense of goalless rivals Greece, who must win here to keep their faint hopes of progressing alive.
Les Elephants impressed when coming from behind in their opening defeat of Japan and pushed Colombia all the way in their narrow 2-1 defeat.
However the Ivorians will be rocked by the news that Ibrahim Toure, brother of Ivory Coast’s Yaya and Kolo, lost his battle with cancer and passed away shortly after Thursday’s defeat to the Colombians. Ibrahim, 28, had only earlier this year expressed his desire to one day join his brother in the national team ranks.
Older brother, Kolo has been an unused substitute so far, while Yaya has failed to ignite having only recently returned from injury. It remains to be seen if the inspirational Manchester City midfielder will be in the right frame of mind to fully concentrate on this game.
Greece drew a blank for the second game running against Japan, although they were hardly helped by the first-half dismissal of captain Kostas Katsouranis, who now misses out here through suspension.
The Greeks have only scored two goals in eight previous world cup appearances and looked no closer to adding to that tally during their dull draw with the Japanese.
Their cause was further hindered when Fulham’s injury-prone striker Kostas Mitroglou limped off against Japan. Mitroglou was replaced by the ineffectual veteran Theofanis Gekas – he of the missed point-blank header versus Colombia – and the latter could deputise again here.
Les Elephants have created enough opportunities in their opening two matches to suggest they are well capable of scoring goals. Greece kept a clean against a fairly toothless Japan but Ivory Coast have shown more bite up front through Swansea’s Wilfred Bony and two-goal former Arsenal man Gervinho, with Didier Drogba in reserve.
The Ivorians should only need a point, barring a big win for Japan against Group C leaders Colombia, and look well equipped to achieve at least that here. Ivory Coast to win the match by exactly one goal is available at 5/2.
The match kicks off at 9pm UK time on Tuesday, June 24th in Estadio Castelao, Fortaleza.