Africa’s First Win: Cote D’Ivoire Comes from Behind To Defeat Japan

Josh Odoi June 15, 2014

cote d'ivoire vs japan

Didier Drogba-inspired Cote D’Ivoire came from behind on Saturday night to win their opening match against Asian champions Japan at the World Cup.

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Cote D’Ivoire starting forwards Wilfried Bony, Gervinho, and Salomon Kalou, came in to this game having scored 50 goals last season among themselves, raising expectations from this golden generation team to an all-time high.

However, there was a brief scare that we were in for another disappointing night from the Ivorian national team as they couldn’t dominate the first half of the game against Japan.

In the 16th minute, Cote D’Ivoire were stunned when Keisuke Honda, at the edge of the box, shot a fierce ball past Boubacar Barry inside the Arena Pernambuco.

And Les Elephants of Cote D’Iviore did very little to respond to being a goal down.

Consequently, the Asians pressed comfortably forward in the first half and were the better team of the two at that time.

By the end of the first half, it looked like a repeat from the 2010 World Cup, when Japan beat fellow francophone African country Cameroon four years ago.

This all changed for the better in the second half when the Ivorian talisman Didier Drogba finally entered the game with 30 minutes left on the on the clock.

Within six minutes of his arrival in game, the re-energized African side equalized and took the cote d'ivoirelead: A Wilfried Bony header in the 63rd minute placed the teams on level terms. Two minutes later, in the 65th minute, inspirational playmaker Gervinho added his name to the score sheet, giving Cote D’Ivoire a deserving lead.

At first, head coach Sabri Lamouchi‘s gamble of bringing Drogba off the bench and keeping Wilfried Bony in the game was questionable, but his four attacking forwards soon became too much for Japan to handle.

This victory gave Cote D’Ivoire their first ever win in an opener at a World Cup.

Watch a profile on the Cote D’Ivoire team here:


Their chances to advance past the group stage for the first time also increased with next match being against group favorites and potential title contenders Columbia on June 19th.


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Last Edited by:Abena Agyeman-Fisher Updated: September 15, 2018


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