Scotland V England Saturday 24th February. 4:45PM. BBC One Scotland v England renew their rivalry…
Greece v Ivory Coast
In terms of what’s at stake in this Group C clash, Euro 2004 winners Greece can still qualify for the second round of World Cup 2014 but need an unlikely sequence of events to do so, while YaYa Toure’s Ivory Coast can guarantee their passage into the knock-out stages with a win.
Greece (14/5 Betfred), forever associated with defensive football, managed to hold Japan to a 0-0 draw in their second group game and must be credited for doing so.
Like most football fans, I detest tactical plans like that of the Greeks, but this time they played with ten men for more than half of the game after Katsouraniss was given his marching orders in the 38th minute.
Japan could only manage a handful of shots on target, with double figures wide of the goal, and this game could well have ended 0-0 even if Greece had eleven men for the full 90 minutes, but credit is due to them on this occasion.
Greece have nothing more than a slim chance of making the second round in Brazil, as they only gained one point from two Group C matches, will need Japan to beat an already qualified Columbia, while ensuring that they beat Ivory Coast by enough to overtake the two-goal advantage that Japan currently has in order to qualify!
With three points, however, Ivory Coast (11/10, Paddy Power), as mentioned at the top of this article, are in a strong position to qualify for the second round of the World Cup, despite losing their last game 2-1 to Columbia.
In conclusion, I want to back under 2.5 goals at 8/11 with Stan James, but then Ivory Coast need to score at least one goal in order to win the game and Greece need to score a few to overtake both the Ivory Coast and Japan in the Group C standings!
In truth, I seriously doubt that Greece will score twice or more , but there have been games in this World Cup which looked set to end 0-0 before a late flurry of goals busted under goals bets and that’s enough to put me off in principle.
Now, I’d back Ivory Coast to win in 90 minutes, but the sad news that the younger brother of YaYa and Kolo Toure has died makes me wonder what kind of mental state the two will be in.
Instead, with so much at stake and a cagey first half in mind, a half-time draw could prove to be just the ticket at 11/10 with Bet365.
Japan v Columbia
Despite having a one man advantage for 52 minutes, Japan couldn’t defeat Greece in their second Group C game, eventually drawing 0-0. While Japan moved the ball around the pitch well and played attractive passes, they struggled to get a meaningful shot on goal, constantly shooting wide.
With only one point to their name in Brazil, Japan (11/5, Ladbrokes) will need to beat Columbia and hope that Ivory Coast are unable to defeat Greece, or that Greece don’t defeat Ivory Coast by a greater margin than the current two goal difference that Japan holds over them.
Confused? Me too, but thankfully, there’s no confusion in the Columbian camp, as they’re already through to the knock-out stages of Brazil 2014 after winning their opening two games.
Columbia (7/5,) could still finish second in Group C if they lost to Japan and Ivory Coast were to beat Greece by three goals or more, but that looks like an unlikely scenario.
Even still, the fact that Columbia don’t need to win this game, and that they could potentially rest players like James Rodriguez (11/4 Anytime, Stan James) and Juan Cuadrado, makes it hard to back Peckerman’s boys in the Match Winner market.
Instead, bearing in mind that, despite their need to win, Japan have only scored one goal in two games, while factoring in that Columbia have a good defence that’s conceded just once in its last two outings, under 2.5 goals looks like the best bet on offer at 10/11 with BetVictor.
However, if James Rodriguez does start the game, the 11/4 about him as an anytime scorer looks quite appealing for a player who has netted in each of Columbia’s last four games.