Group C World Cup 2014

World Cup 2014 Group C

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GROUP C

Colombia Greece Ivory Coast Japan

[Team Jersey Images © Soccerphile]

Colombia

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Colombia are back in the World Cup finals after a 16-year absence but their overall record is poor having only once got out of the group stage in four appearances. Much more is expected this time around from a team that finished second behind Argentina in South American qualifying. Colombia have the decided advantage of playing on their home continent but doubts remain about an aging defence lead by 38-year-old Mario Yepes (Atalanta) and 35-year-old Luis Perea (Cruz Azul), though Los Cafeteros conceded the lowest number of goals in qualifying, just 13 in 18 matches.

Fixtures

Colombia team jersey kit 1 (c) Soccerphile. Colombia team jersey kit 2 (c) Soccerphile.

Colombia Kit 1
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Colombia Kit 2
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Colombia v Greece 14 June; Belo Horizonte
Colombia v Ivory Coast 19 June; Brasilia
Colombia v Japan 24 June; Cuiaba

Coach

Jose Pekerman

Record

1962, 1994, 1998 First Round; 1990 Second Round

FIFA Ranking

Men to watch

Monaco duo of James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao.

Predictions & Latest Odds

We are backing Colombia to make it to the second round to face either England, Uruguay or Italy.
World Cup 2014 Betting

How they qualified

Colombia qualified as runners-up in the South American CONMEBOL zone.

On the sidelines

James Rodriguez is married to goalkeeper David Ospina's sister.

Analysis

Colombia Team Profile

Squad

Goalkeepers: David Ospina (Nice), Faryd Mondragon (Deportivo Cali), Camilo Vargas (Independiente Santa Fe)

Defenders: Mario Yepes (AC Milan), Cristian Zapata (AC Milan), Pablo Armero (West Ham, on loan from Napoli), Camilo Zuniga (Napoli), Santiago Arias (PSV Eindhoven), Eder Alvarez Balanta (River Plate), Carlos Valdes (San Lorenzo)

Midfielders: Fredy Guarin (Inter Milan), Juan Cuadrado (Fiorentina), James Rodriguez (Monaco), Abel Aguilar (Toulouse), Juan Fernando Quintero (Porto), Carlos Sanchez (Elche), Aldo Leao Ramirez (Morelia), Alexander Mejia (Atletico Nacional)

Strikers: Victor Ibarbo (Cagliari), Jackson Martinez (Porto), Carlos Bacca (Sevilla), Adrian Ramos (Hertha Berlin), Teofilo Gutierrez (River Plate)


Greece

Greece ride high in the FIFA World Rankings and are becoming a regular face at the big tournaments after winning Euro 2004 in Portugal. Portuguese coach Fernando Santos, who is leaving after the tournament, has carried on the good work of his predecessor, Otto Rehhagel, and has made sure Greece are well-organized and just a little bit more attacking. Much will depend on whether Fulham's Kostas Mitroglou can overcome his injuries to lead the attack.

Fixtures

Greece team jersey kit 1 (c) Soccerphile. Greece team jersey kit 2 (c) Soccerphile.

Greece Kit 1
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Greece Kit 2
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Greece v Colombia 14 June; Belo Horizonte
Greece v Japan 19 June; Natal
Greece v Ivory Coast 24 June; Fortaleza

Coach

Fernando Santos

Record

1994, 2010 First Round

FIFA Ranking

Men to watch

The most expensive Greek player in history, Fulham's Kostas Mitroglou, if fully fit.

Predictions & Latest Odds

We predict Greece will not get out of the group for the third time in three tournaments.

How they qualified

Greece came second in European Qualifying Group D behind Bosnia but beat Romania in the play offs.

On the sidelines

Greece are based at the luxury Radisson Hotel in Aracaju in Sergipe Province.

Analysis

Greece Team Profile

Squad

Goalkeepers: Orestis Karnezis (Granada), Panagiotis Glykos (PAOK), Stefanos Kapino (Panathinaikos)

Defenders: Kostas Manolas, Giannis Maniatis, Jose Holebas (all Olympiacos), Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Borussia Dortmund), Giorgios Tzavellas (PAOK), Loukas Vyntra (Levante), Vasilis Torosidis (Roma), Vangelis Moras (Verona)

Midfielders: Alexandros Tziolis (Kayserispor), Andreas Samaris (Olympiacos), Kostas Katsouranis (PAOK), Giorgos Karagounis (Fulham), Panagiotis Tachtsidis (Torino), Ioannis Fetfatzidis (Genoa), Lazaros Christodoulopoulos (Bologna), Panagiotis Kone (Bologna)

Strikers: Dimitris Salpingidis (PAOK), Giorgios Samaras (Celtic), Kostas Mitroglou (Fulham), Theofanis Gekas (Konyaspor)


Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast will be hoping to make it third time lucky and get out of the group after failure at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, admittedly in tough groups. 2014 will be a swansong for their talisman Didier Drogba, but the Ivorians have substantial goal scoring threat from Wilfred Bony, who had an excellent first season in the Premiership with Swansea and the rejuvenated duo of Gervinho at Roma and Salomon Kalou at Lille. Yaya Toure is the team's standout performer and also guarantees goals, having scored 20 in Manchester City's title-winning season. The Elephants' problems are at the back and in goal, where Boubacar Barry can be error-prone.

Fixtures

Ivory Coast team jersey kit 1 (c) Soccerphile. Ivory Coast team jersey kit 2 (c) Soccerphile.

Ivory Coast Kit 1
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Ivory Coast Kit 2
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Ivory Coast v Japan 14 June; Recife
Ivory Coast v Colombia 19 June; Brasilia
Ivory Coast v Greece; 24 June; Fortaleza

Coach

Sabri Lamouchi

Record

2006, 2010 First Round

FIFA Ranking

Men to watch

African Player of the Year, Yaya Toure and pacy defender Serge Aurier, who could be joining a big club post-World Cup.

How they qualified

Ivory Coast came through their play off match against Senegal.

On the sidelines

Ivory Coast coach Lamouchi has won Ligue 1 titles with Auxerre and Monaco as a player.

Analysis

Ivory Coast Team Profile

Squad

Goalkeepers: Boubacar Barry (Lokeren), Sylvain Gbohouo (Sewe Sport), Ali Sangare Badra (Asec Mimosas), Sayouba Mande (Stabaek)

Defenders: Kolo Toure (Liverpool), Sol Bamba (Trabzonspor), Didier Zokora (Trabzonspor), Serge Aurier (Toulouse), Arthur Boka (Stuttgart), Benjamin Angoua (Valenciennes), Ousmane Viera Diarrassouba (Caykur Rizespor), Constant Djakpa (Frankfurt), Brice Dja Djedje (Marseille), Jean-Daniel Akpa-Akpro (Toulouse)

Midfielders: Yaya Toure (Manchester City), Cheik Tiote (Newcastle), Serey Die (Basel), Max Gradel (Saint Etienne), Diomande Ismael (Saint Etienne), Didier Ya Konan (Hannover), Mathis Bolly (Dusseldorf)

Strikers: Gervinho (Roma), Didier Drogba (Galatasaray), Salomon Kalou (Lille), Wilfried Bony (Swansea), Seydou Doumbia (CSKA Moscow), Lacina Traore (Everton), Giovanni Sio (Basel)

Japan

Japan's squad is a mix of overseas stars and players from the domestic J-League. Japan are Asian Cup champions but their stars from that tournament Keisuke Honda (Milan) and Shinji Kagawa (Man Utd) have had underwhelming seasons in struggling teams. Japan performed well at World Cup 2010 getting out of Group E to reach the second round, but look vulnerable at the back where Maya Yoshida got little playing time at Southampton. Japan also lack a natural goal scorer and though they are well organized in possession, and in theory used to playing in hot and humid conditions, lack a real cutting edge. This is Japan's fifth straight World Cup but their opening game against a powerful Ivory Coast is crucial to their chances of progression.

Fixtures

Japan team jersey kit 1 (c) Soccerphile. Japan team jersey kit 2 (c) Soccerphile.

Japan Kit 1
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Japan Kit 2
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Japan v Ivory Coast v 14 June; Recife
Japan v Greece 19 June; Natal
Japan v Colombia 24 June; Cuaiba

Coach

Alberto Zaccheroni

Record

1998, 2006 First Round. 2002, 2010 Round of 16

FIFA Ranking

Men to watch

Shinji Kagawa and Keisuke Honda are the stars but Yuto Nagatomo is a tireless performer at left back. Shinji Ozaki was the top scorer in qualifying with 8 goals.

How they qualified

Came through Asian qualifying, though after a few disappointments along the road, including a disappointing loss to Jordan.

On the sidelines

Japan's nickname is the "Blue Samurai" as the national team's colors are blue shirts and blue shorts. Japan will base just outside Sao Paulo which has over 700,000 inhabitants of Japanese descent.

Analysis

Japan Team Profile

Squad

Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima (Standard Liege), Shusaku Nishikawa (Urawa Reds), Shuichi Gonda (FC Tokyo)

Defenders: Masato Morishige (FC Tokyo), Yasuyuki Konno (Gamba Osaka), Yuto Nagatomo (Inter Milan), Maya Yoshida (Southampton), Masahiko Inoha (Jubilo Iwata), Atsuto Uchida (Schalke 04), Hiroki Sakai (Hannover 96), Gotoku Sakai (VfB Stuttgart)

Midfielders: Yasuhito Endo (Gamba Osaka), Keisuke Honda (AC Milan), Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United), Makoto Hasebe (FC Nuremberg), Hiroshi Kiyotake (FC Nuremberg), Hotaru Yamaguchi (Cerezo Osaka), Toshihiro Aoyama (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Manabu Saito (Yokohama F. Marinos)

Strikers: Shinji Okazaki (Mainz), Yoichiro Kakitani (Cerezo Osaka), Yuya Osako (TSV Munich 1860), Yoshito Okubo (Kawasaki Frontale)