FIFA World Cup: Côte d’Ivoire vs. Japan – 10 Bold Predictions


Jun 12, 2014; Sao Paulo, BRAZIL; Detailed view of an official FIFA soccer ball sitting on the field during the game between Brazil against Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians. Brazil defeated Croatia 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In Group C action on Saturday, Sabri Lamouchi’s Côte d’Ivoire take on Alberto Zaccheroni’s Japan at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil. Japan leads their series with the Ivory Coast, 2-1-0, but the Elephants believe that they have a shot at one-upping the Samurai Blue, given their unimpressive showing with Zambia on June 6 in Tampa, Fla. (a 4-3 win).

Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET and will be televised by ESPN. Here are 10 Bold Predictions for Saturday night’s FIFA World Cup clash between Côte d’Ivoire and Japan.

1. At least five saves for Eiji Kawashima

Attacking football will be the order of the day for Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima, who claims 56 national team appearances. The Standard Liege netminder will make at least five saves.

2. At least five saves for Boubacar Barry

Côte d’Ivoire goalkeeper Boubacar Barry has 80 caps for the Elephants, and will need to come up big in the club against a very hungry Japan side. Like Kawashima, Barry will make at least five saves in this game.

3. Didier Drogba will score

You know him from his days at Chelsea, but these days, he’s plying his trade for Turkish side Galatasaray. With 101 caps and 65 natioonal team goals to his name, Côte d’Ivoire striker Didier Drogba still packs a punch, and in what will most likely be his last FIFA World Cup, he’ll show the fans in Recife that he still has it with a goal.

4. On goal for the Ivory Coast: Salomon Kalou

Another former Chelsea standout, Côte d’Ivoire forward Salomon Kalou has 65 caps and 23 goals for the Elephants and will also score in this game against Japan.

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  • 5. No goals for Gervinho

    Roma forward Gervinho has 54 caps and 14 assists for Côte d’Ivoire but it will be difficult for him to adjust to the speed and reaction of Japan’s defensive backline. There will be no goals for Gervinho in this game, whether on the pitch or off the bench.

    6. It’s Shinji Okazaki time!

    A reliable scorer for Mainz 05, Japan forward Shinji Okazaki had 76 caps and 38 goals to his credit and will get on goal on Saturday against Côte d’Ivoire.

    7. And the other Shinji scores, too!

    The other Shinji on this Japan team is Manchester United forward Shinji Kagawa, who has 57 caps and 19 goals for the Samurai Blue. Watch for Kagawa to get on goal and finish in clinical fashion against the Elephants.

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    8. Yasuhito Endō with a goal and an assist

    The old man of the Japanese national team is midfielder Yasuhito Endō of J.League powerhouse Gamba Osaka, with 144 caps and 13 goals to his credit. Watch for Endō to record a goal and an assist in this match.

    9. At least 40 fouls and three cards

    This will be a fluid match, and while the fouls will pick up, the cards will be minimal. The MLS Multiplex boldly predicts at least 40 fouls and three cards in this match between Côte d’Ivoire and Japan.

    10. Japan win a thriller in Recife

    It will be a game full of goals, but Japan have had a history of success against Côte d’Ivoire and will prevail late. Keep an eye on the two Shinjis for Japan. Their production will be crucial to the outcome of this game.

    Japan 3, Côte d’Ivoire 2