World Cup Group C Preview
By Grant Becker
Preview: Supporters of Colombia, Greece, Cote D’Ivoire, and Japan will all be bullish about their chances of advancing. Even without Radamel Falcao, the Colombians look the favorites. The Greeks have the ability to upset any team in the world when they park the bus. The Ivorians look set to make an impact every time they play at the World Cup. Japan looked like a team with dangerous offensive potential at last summer’s tune up event, the Confederation’s Cup. Colombia come in to the tournament ranked 5th in the world by FIFA, while Japan sit all the way down at 47th. The challenge of this group lies in the fact that Colombia will be very worried about their meeting with the Asians.
Key Game: Every game in this group will be crucial, but the meeting between Greece and the Ivory Coast will be make or break for both teams. They Greeks need to find a win at some point in this group, they may be waiting until their last game of the group stage to find that win. The Ivorians will hope to come into this game with a win under their belt already, but either way, the winner of this one will likely advance and the loser will suffer a long ride home.
X-Factor: Keisuke Honda’s play for his national team has been so good, he pushed world-beater Shinji Kagawa out wide. The movement on and off the ball between these two players is always brilliant, but if Honda can find his finishing touch, the underdogs of Group C could rise and conquer. Japan’s hopes of advancing to the knockout stages ride on the shoulders of Mr. Honda.
Prediction: Colombia 7, Ivory Coast 4, Greece 2, Japan 2. Greece and Colombia will play to a drab 0-0 draw, but then Colombia will get the offense flowing, cruising to first in the group. Japan will stick it out against Cote D’Ivoire and Greece. But Greece won’t be able to keep the Ivorians out and their dreams of glory with end early along with Japan’s.