Ivory Coast (1-1-0) vs. Greece (0-1-1), 4 p.m. (ET)
06/24/2014 8:27 AM
06/24/2014 8:27 AM
Fortaleza, Brazil (SportsNetwork.com) - The Ivory Coast and Greece will meet in a crucial Group C match on Tuesday at the Estadio Castelao with a spot in the knockout round on the line.
Les Elephants got their group-stage campaign off to a flying start with a 2-1 victory over Japan, but suffered a setback on Thursday with a 2-1 loss to group-leaders Colombia at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia.
The Ivory Coast managed to keep Colombia off the score sheet in the first half, but they couldn't hold them off in the second half as goals from James Rodriguez and Juan Fernando Quintero scored to lift Los Cafeteros to the victory.
Colombia struck for the opener in the 64th minute as a corner kick from Juan Guillermo Cuadrado was expertly nodded into the top left corner of the net by Rodriguez.
Colombia doubled its advantage in the 70th minute following a giveaway from the Ivory Coast in the center of the park. Gutierrez advanced the ball and slid a well-weighted pass into the path of Quintero, who slotted a left-footed shot past the on-rushing Boubacar Barry.
Ivory Coast pulled one back just three minutes later. It was Gervinho who did the honors, capping a weaving run from the left flank by pumping a right- footed shot past Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina at the near post.
But it wasn't enough as Les Elephants could not find an equalizer.
"We didn't deserve to lose, I feel a draw would have been fair," Ivory Coast coach Sabri Lambouchi said. "We made a few untimely errors and paid a heavy price. I'm not going to get too carried away with what went on, there are only some small things to iron out ahead of the next game. We'll now go back to our camp and get plenty of rest, because we'll need to beat Greece by a big margin. I can't see us qualifying any other way."
Greece, meanwhile, is coming off a scoreless draw against Japan in Natal at the Estadio das Dunas on Thursday.
A win for the Greeks would keep them alive for a spot in the round-of-16 with four points, but they could still go home if Japan beats Colombia earlier in the day.
The run of play in Thursday's affair was even until the 38th minute when Greece had Kostas Katsouranis sent off for a second caution, which came by way of a sliding challenge on Makoto Hasebe.
But the Greeks almost took the lead shortly after when Vasilis Torosidis took a failed clearance and hammered a shot on goal, but goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima was equal to the task, turning the attempt out of play to deny the Roma man.
"We struggled to even get close to the Japanese box, particularly in the first half. That's why I feel we played really well in the second 45 minutes," Greek head coach Fernando Santos said. "We thought Japan might change their style and play more long balls, rather than always playing short passes. We now need to win our next game because Cote d'Ivoire have three points and we've just one. We need to find a way to put the Ivorians under pressure. I hope that everything turns out like Euro 2004, when Greece also needed to win their last [group] game and ended up going through."