Ivory Coast v Japan: Man City maestro to reward shrewd punters
After England’s World Cup Group D opener against Italy comes Ivory Coast v Japan in Group C, which is by some way the most straightforward mini-league assignment the West African’s have been handed during their eight-year history in the tournament.
They get our vote to come away from this match with all the points, with Manchester City’s ‘underappreciated’ midfielder tipped to start the party.
Japan may have been the first team to come through qualifying for the World Cup, but wins against the likes of Oman, Jordan and Azerbaijan will prove poor preparation for their clash with the Elephants.
None of the countries Alberto Zaccheroni’s side faced in qualifying had a single player to compare with the quality Ivory Coast possess, and the fact that Japan could only claim one point from home-and-away clashes against Uzbekistan suggests they’ll struggle to contain Didier Drogba and co.
After an initial injury scare, the vibes coming out of Ivory Coast’s camp ahead of the Recife fixture seem very positive regarding the Man City star’s fitness.
That’s great news for his country, as the younger Toure bagged a phenomenal 24 goals in all competitions for the re-crowned Premier League champions last term.
The 31-year-old’s incredible shooting range makes him a shrewd bet in what’s likely to be a cagey affair.
Ivory Coast drew a blank in their opening match of the 2010 World Cup, but that was in a goalless draw with Portugal and the Elephants struck at least once in each of their other two games against Brazil and North Korea.
Japan scored the only goal in their first 2010 fixture against Cameroon and have notched in each of their last five outings.
With their opponents’ last seven games seeing both teams find the net, expect more of the same at the Arena Pernambuco.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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