GREECE 2 – 1 IVORY COAST
Greece go through to the last 16, in what was a night of drama and excitement for both teams playing in this game which could have seen either side qualify for the knockout stages.
Ivory Coast had just recently been involved in a 2-1 narrow defeat to Colombia, which could have easily been a draw. Before that, they had won against Japan 2-1. They certainly weren’t hurting for goals as they scored 1 or 2 goals per game usually and seemed certain to be able to get a win if they tried hard enough.
The Ivory Coast squad is full of great players, with the likes of Wilfried Bony, Didier Drogba, Kolo Toure and Yaya Toure, Salomon Kalou and Gervinho. I had picked them as “the best African team of the World cup” and to be honest, there really weren’t any other African teams who did better. Nigeria have been mostly awful (up until their display against Germany where they scored twice against the Germans in their own defeat), their goalless draw with Iran was one of the most dull and boring games of the entire tournament. I do NOT recommend that you watch the highlights of that game, it had no highlights to speak of, with zero goals.
Greece are always very defensive in a style of play that tries to not concede any goals while giving an attacking player the chance to score what would most likely be the only goal of the game. The Greeks have perfected “THE ART OF THE 1-0 WIN”. Having said that, they did concede to Ivory Coast and would score two goals in this game. Greece would take a lead just before the half time break when substitute Andreas Samaris scored after Cheick Tiote’s defensive mistake.
It would be the later part of the second half before Ivory Coast could convert one of their chances and get on the scoresheet. Gervinho was in a 1 on 1 situation with the goalkeeper and with a defender closing in on him and a decision to make on whether he should try scoring or not, he calmly pulled back the ball to his teammate Wilfried Bony who was in a better position and the goalkeeper never had a chance to save it as put the ball in the net confidently, with the goalie already being off his line (having come out to challenge Gervinho).
Considering that a draw would have put Ivory Coast through to the last 16, they seemed a little hesitant to be attacking. Perhaps they wanted to defend more, but it would not help very much. The 1 goal they had should have been enough to see them progress but late on into the game (injury time) there was a controversial decision to award a penalty to Greece as one of the Ivory Coast players (Giovanni Sio) made a challenge for the ball BUT, the Greek player fell down in the box. HE FELL… he was not even tackled (there seemed to be ZERO CONTACT), but he fell quite dramatically. The referee must not have been in a very good position to view what was happening properly because as soon as the Greek player hit the ground, the referee had pointed to the penalty spot. It was so not fair… myself, I was yelling at the TV, encouraging the Ivory Coast goalkeeper to save it because Greece did not deserve to score what was CLEARLY an unfair penalty decision.
Georgios Samaras would calmly put the ball to the right of the unfortunate keeper with power and although the keeper went the right way, he could not stop it hitting the back of the net and Greece has qualified as winners while Ivory Coast did not get the one point they needed for qualification from their group. THERE WAS NO JUSTICE in the way that Greece qualified ahead of Ivory Coast. The Africans have done enough to have deserved being in the last 16. LUCK and a VERY controversial penalty decision is what helped Greece qualify.
I will miss the Ivory Coast in the rest of this World Cup and would have cheered them on all the way to the Final if they had qualified. They’ve been great to watch (every game they played was entertaining and exciting). Thanks for the memories, Ivory Coast!
KEY PLAYERS: Samaris would be the guy who scored the only goal from open play for the Greeks and helped Greece in their efforts to get at least a draw. The referee did the rest for them as they got their win and all 3 points.
Wilfried Bony calmly placed the ball in the net after Gervinho unselfishly gave the ball to him for Ivory Coast’s only goal of the game. It SHOULD have been enough to help the Africans get a 1-1 draw and to progress to the last 16 but the referee’s decision to award a late penalty crushed their dreams of winning the World Cup.
[written by] Stuart Drewery.
I’m an Englishman (born and raised in Liverpool in the 80s). My whole family including my parents and grandparents were Liverpool fans so I was born into being a red. I’ve seen Liverpool win the league (about 25 years ago) and I’ve been 100% loyal and committed while supporting the Reds through all the good times AND the bad times since the 80s.
I’m a die hard Liverpool fan (only supported ONE club in my whole life, Liverpool) and one of the most dedicated fans you’ll ever meet.