This is arguably one of the most evenly matched groups at the tournament finals and the reality is all four teams have a realistic chance of qualifying for the Last 16 stage. Even with Radamel Falcao missing, Colombia remain the favourites to progress to the next phase on their fifth ever World Cup appearance, but los Cafeteros will not have an easy job, that’s for sure.
Led by Yaya Toure, one of world’s best footballers, Ivory Coast have qualified for their third successive World Cup finals, but it remains to be seen if they can avoid crashing out in the group stage one more time. Then we have Euro 2004 champions Greece ready to upset the odds once again as well as Alberto Zaccheroni’s Japan, who are always difficult to beat.
Winners of Group C
After narrowly missing out on three successive tournament finals, Colombia have qualified for the 2014 World Cup in style, finishing the campaign just two points behind first-placed Argentina. Los Cafeteros may have suffered a major blow as Radamel Falcao was ruled out of the tournament in Brazil, but they, nonetheless, have several exciting forwards in their ranks such as Carlos Bacca, Adrian Ramos, Jackson Martinez and Teofilo Gutierrez.
Colombia will have an advantage over other Group C side as they are well used to the adverse weather conditions in South America, but it is the sheer quality in all areas of the pitch and excellent team spirits that should help them win the first place in the group. James Rodriguez, Juan Cuadrado and Camilo Zuniga will be the men to watch.
Best Odds to Win Group C
Having largely impressed in arguably the strongest zone of the World Cup qualifiers, Colombia will be well prepared for what awaits them in Brazil, and they should be backed to qualify for the next stage from the first place in the group.
To Qualify from Group C
Colombia are widely expected to progress from the group with relative ease, but the race for the second place should go to the wire. Ivory Coast have been made favourites by the online bookmakers, but while the team do have a lot of individual quality, they have so far failed to prove their worth at major tournaments and I seriously doubt it will be any different this time out.
And while Japan have the potential to surprise, I cannot look past Greece when choosing the second team to qualify from Group C. Fernando Santos’ side boast a rock-solid defence and can be extremely dangerous on the break, which is a perfect approach for the World Cup finals. Recent friendly games have proved Ethniki can frustrate even world’s strongest sides and I believe they have an excellent chance to make it to the knockout stages
Best Odds To Qualify from Group C
Greece will not be everyone’s first choice, but with their defence one of the best in Europe and the likes of Samaras and Mitroglou capable of producing magic up front, there is an excellent value in backing the Euro 2004 champions to qualify from Group C together with Colombia.
Group C Match Betting Tips
The second round of group fixtures will see favourites Colombia take on star-studded Ivory Coast side and that one looks the easiest to predict. The Elephants were pretty disappointing at major tournaments even when the likes of Didier Drogba, Didier Zokora and Kolo Toure were at their prime, so we cannot expect them to match very good Colombia side who are clearly playing the best football in years. Los Cafeteros appear to be superior in all aspects of the game and they can be trusted to pour more misery on their African opposition.
Group C Team to Concede Most Goals
While boasting plenty of attacking potential, Ivory Coast were never too convincing at the back, but their defence appears to be extremely weak at the moment. With calamitous Kolo Toure and rusty Souleymane Bamba forming the centre-back pairing, goalkeeper Copa Barry will have his work cut out for them in all three group games. Taking also into account Cheikh Toite is likely to be the only defence-minded midfielder in the starting line-up, backing Ivory Coast to concede most goals in Group C looks a real no-brainer.
Both Teams to Score Match Tips
If we are looking for a group game likely to produce premium entertainment as well as goals, then Colombia vs Ivory Coast has got to be the one. Los Cafeteros will surely manage to score a couple past the Elephants’ shocking back line, but their own defence, likely to include 38-year-old Mario Yepes, could face problems against the likes of Yaya Toure, Kalou, Gervinho and Drogba/Bony. Therefore, both teams to score sounds like a decent option here.