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Japan game crucial for Ivory Coast

2014-06-11 08:29
Ivory Coast (AP)
Ivory Coast (AP)
Cape Town - As Ivory Coast are prepping to open their World Cup campaign against Japan on Saturday June 14 in Brazil, the Elephants’ winger Gervinho has claimed that a victory over the Samurai Blue would be crucial to the Ivorians’ success in the tournament.

Ivory Coast are yet to pick a win in a World Cup opener since they first qualified in 2006 in Germany, where they lost their first group match 2-1 to Argentina, and played a goalless draw against Portugal in their 2010 World Cup opener.

“In a competition, winning your first match is very important. It provides the required confidence to continue,” Gervinho said on Tuesday.

“We are conscious of this fact and will strive to overcome Japan in order to confidently take on the other two members of Group C, Colombia and Greece, who are also not easy sides,” the Roma player said.

After two weeks of groundwork in Dallas, Texas, the Ivorian team traveled to Brazil last Thursday with some worries about the injury situation of midfield powerhouse Yaya Toure, who did not play their warm up matches against Bosnia and Salvador.

Coach Sabri Lamouchi remains unsure whether the Manchester City star will feature against Japan. But the team’s medical staff say Toure is recovering nicely from a thigh injury and could come in as substitute against the Asians at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife on Saturday.

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