Floods, Toure tragedy motivate Ivory Coast

2014-06-24 10:05

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Fortaleza, Brazil – For African World Cup hope Ivory Coast, tragedy in the team and at home could motivate players to beat Greece in today’s Group C decider.

England-based brothers Yaya and Kolo Toure remained with the team for the match in Fortaleza despite the death of their brother Ibrahim last week, while major floods in the west African country have added pressure for some good news in Brazil.

“We hope we can do something positive for the people back home to take their mind off it,” French coach Sabri Lamouchi said.

“What happened to both Yaya and Kolo is a tragedy ... There are also other events in the Ivory Coast, with the floods, so the conditions are not the best.”

With no African teams yet through to the last 16, the Elephants are in control of their fate against goalless Greece, second in the group behind already-advanced Colombia.

Lamouchi, a former France and Inter Milan midfielder, has twice used national team star Didier Drogba as a second-half impact substitute for the opening 2-1 win over Japan and subsequent loss to the Colombians by the same score.

After training yesterday, Lamouchi indicated he could pay greater attention to the Elephants’ defence to avoid “repeating mistakes” made in the second match.

“We conceded as many times as we’ve scored. So we’ll have to be very cautious. The Greeks are compact and we’ll have to defend well at the back.”

Lamouchi said little about today’s line-up, but confirmed that two-time scorer Gervinho would feature against Greece.

“Gervinho will be part of the team. He was formidable against Colombia,” he said of the former Arsenal player who moved to Roma to score nine goals in Serie A this season.

France-based midfielder Max Gradel, who was benched for the first match but played in the second, echoed his coach’s philosophy of emerging stronger from adversity.

“There are tough moments in people’s career. If you fall you just have to get back up,” he said.

“So I’m very honoured to be here. A lot of sacrifices got us here. We must have no regrets and know in our last game that we did everything we could.”

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