Group C for me is a complete free for all. This is a very evenly balanced group full of above average and average teams. This is a hard group to predict but gun to head if I had to pick the top two I would go with Colombia finishing at the top and Ivory Coast finishing second. Japan and Greece, However, have a hell of a chance to make it out as well. The winner of this group will be the team that move the ball around quickly and play well together. Colombia had its World Cup hopes somewhat shaken because the deadliest striker in the world Radamel Falcao suffered a torn ACL and will be a huge blow to Colombia. The Ivory Coast hope to make it into the “Sweet 16” and send Drogba riding into the sunset a pleased man. Japan always plays with a lot of discipline and grit and I would expect no different in this tournament. The Greek are a funny team cause many forget this team was the last European Champion before Spain surprisingly, so they are no stranger to the big stage.
Colombia: Colombia are a very up and down team in tournaments past and must overcome the colossal loss of Falcao. Even when he isn’t playing he still is the face of Colombia. That will have to change of Colombia plan on advancing. I think they can do it due to the hot, humid, high above sea level South American conditions they are more than comfortable playing in. For Colombia they must rely on a new star and that is left footed midfield/striker James Rodriguez. Rodriguez can do it all, create scoring chances, and finish them. A very elite and underrated player who I am sure will let the world know what he is capable of. Fredy Guarin will look to maintain order in the midfield for Colombia as the brutually strong midfielder will fancy unleashing his rocket strike on the world. The key component for Colombia is Falcao’s replacement Victor Ibarbo who is a very paceful and talented young striker who is looking to catapult himself outside of Falcao’s shadow. Other notable players are Pablo Armero running the flank from his left back position, Cristian Zapata the giant in the back, Mario Yepes alongside Zapata, Juan Zuniga running the flank from the right back position, and young striker Jackson Martinez providing some energy off the bench. The strength in Colombia lies in their defense and hopefully for them the lack of Falcao won’t hurt them in the goal department.
Cote d’Ivoire: Also coined as the Ivory Coast the elephant men would love to be dancing all over the pitch if they have their way. The key factor to some maybe Didier Drogba, but for any diehard football fan it’s all about Yaya Toure. The run of form he has been on has been nothing less than spectacular. From midfield he has scored more goals than Wayne Rooney and that’s saying a lot. He is strong, cheeky, relentless, and very creative. Next up as you all guessed is Didier Drogba who is a prolific goalscorer. He can beat you in numerous ways and it is almost impossible to contain the strong Ivorian. Yaya’s brother Kolo Toure will be highly relied upon to keep organized a relatively unknown back line that features a young prodigy in Serge Aurier, but will have to play well if the Ivory Coast hope to make a great run. Gervinho who you would suspect would be a Brazilian is an underrated stud in midfield and is a handful for defenders to handle. Other notable players are Didier Zokora playing holding mid, and Salomon Kalou playing alongside Drogba. Endurance and composure will be the key for Cote d’Ivoire to make a good run.
Greece: The Greeks probably wish the myths we all know and love applied to them on the football pitch, but they have some ways to go to be a world power. They often show teasing glimpses of being a force to be reckon with but Greek fans are often left longing for more. If the Greek make it out of this group they will need to lose their conservative approach and bring more men forward into the attack. The Greek don’t have a whole bunch of well known players but most of the squad relies on Theofanis Gekas and Georgios Samaras for goals. The rest of the team just need to play their roles and hope they can provide good service to the big men up top.
Japan: Japan historically have been one of those teams that don’t WOW you on paper but the way they play collectively can be very menacing. That can be attributed to the fact that they are usually always fitter than the competition and can play two 90 minute matches back to back with relative ease. The Japanese are very deceptive on the ball and it all starts with Shinji Kagawa. Kagawa is a very outstanding dribbler and passer and he will look to set his teammates up for easy chances. The other stud in the midfield is simply known as Honda who literally would love to drive his team into the next round behind his lethal left foot that will have teams thinking twice before giving this guy a free kick. Yuto Nagatomo will have to show his class on the left side of defense for the Japanese. Other notables are Atsuto Uchida who will be controlling things from the back, and the young striker Yuya Osako will look to bring joy to the land of the rising sun and capitalize on the chances Kagawa and Honda will provide him. – BoSo ¤