Wednesday, June 25, 2014

World Cup 2014: Greece sent Côte d'Ivoire packing

A dejected Wilfried Bony, Die Serey and Max Gradel of the Ivory Coast look on
The Ivorians stunned by World Cup exit. They've never made it pass the group stages since Germany 2006. On the other hand, Greece progressed to the last 16 in a World Cup for the first time. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Former European champions Greece stunned Côte d'Ivoire with a late Georgios Samaras penalty that saw the Elephants crash out of the World Cup in Brazil.

Tuesday's 2-1 win at the Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza means Greece are through to the round of 16, where they are set to face Costa Rica.

They took the lead through Andreas Samaris in the 42nd minute and went on to hit the woodwork on several occasions during the group C final clash. 

Côte d'Ivoire responded with a Wilfried Bonny near-post tap-in after a pass provided by star-player Gervinho 74 minutes into the game.

It all appeared 'fine' and the tie was going in Côte d'Ivoire's favour before Giovanni Sio brought down Samaras inside the penalty box with 1 minute of injury time to go. 

The Greek striker converted the penalty in the 92nd minute and it was obviously too late for a come-back for the West African side. 

Greek spot-kick drama denies Ivorians
The Greeks celebrate last minute win over the Ivorians to set up a last 16 fixture with Costa Rica (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
The Elephants would have progressed with a draw, but they have now made it to three World Cups and have so far failed to reach the second round. On the other hand, Greece qualified for the last 16 of a World Cup for the first time.

Didier Drogba had his starting berth but appeared frustrated at being withdrawn by the coach deep into the second half. His teammate Gervinho was also clearly unhappy at being substituted. 

Coach Sabri Lamouchi announced his resignation immediately after crashing out of the tournament, according to media reports coming out of Brazil.

Côte d'Ivoire's campaign saw them win 2-1 against Japan in opening match, lose 1-2 to Colombia, and to Greece by the same scoreline. 

They are the second African team to exit the finals after Cameroon.

In the other game on Tuesday, Colombia defeated Japan 4-1 at the Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba.

Group C final standings are: Colombia 9 points (goal difference +7), Greece 4 points (goal difference -2), Côte d'Ivoire 3 point (GD -1) and Japan 1 point (GD -4).

Written by Modou S. Joof

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