Tables & Results

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Ivory Coast


Sun - Jun 15 9:00 pm


StadiumArena Pernambuco


Boubacar Barry
Didier Zokora
Arthur Boka
Sol Bamba
Serge Aurier
Cheick Tioté
Serey Die
Salomon Kalou
Wilfried Bony
Lacina Traoré
Eiji Kawashima
Yuto Nagatomo
Atsuto Uchida
Maya Yoshida
Masato Morishige
Makoto Hasebe (c)
Shinji Kagawa
Keisuke Honda
Hotaru Yamaguchi
Shinji Okazaki
Yuya Osako


Headers by Wilfried Bony and Gervinho just 98 seconds apart ensured Ivory Coast got off to a winning start at the World Cup with a 2-1 comeback victory over Japan in Recife.

The Elephants left captain Didier Drogba out of the starting line-up but it was his arrival off the bench after an hour which coincided with Ivory Coast finally converting their chances.

Japan's Keisuke Honda had put his team ahead with an impressive strike after 16 minutes and, as Ivory Coast continued to miss chance after chance, it seemed their bid to qualify for the knockout stage for the first time would take an early hit as Colombia had beaten Greece in Group C earlier in the day.

However, Drogba's introduction gave their opponents something else to think about and, while they were doing that, Bony and then Gervinho both nipped in to convert crosses from right-back Serge Aurier–- a reported target for Arsenal after they lost Bacary Sagna to Manchester City this week.

Despite 65 goals in 101 appearances for his country, Drogba was left on the bench as Swansea's Bony – 11 years his junior – was preferred up front, and an early shot deflected wide suggested that would prove to be the right decision.

However, having been afforded far too much time just inside the penalty area, the Milan midfielder Honda shifted the ball from his right to left foot before drilling a shot inside a stationary Boubacar Barry's right-hand post. Atsuto Uchida should have made it 2-0 after cutting in from the right but opted to go for goal and shot straight at the goalkeeper with team-mates well placed in the middle.

Ivory Coast, with the Manchester City midfielder Yaya Touré captaining the side but plainly not at his best after recovering from a hamstring injury, stepped up the pressure but failed to test goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima, with Salomon Kalou heading over from six yards just before the break.

Either side of Bony making a mess of two headers early in the second half, Touré appeared to be brought down by Maya Yoshida but no penalty was awarded. With frustration growing, Drogba was introduced and, within six minutes, his side were ahead - although the former Chelsea striker, who immediately teed up Gervinho for a half-chance, was not involved.

Bony equalised in 65th minute with a glancing header, before the former Arsenal forward beat Kawashima all too easily at his near post to stun the Japanese.

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