Ivory Coast failed to progress to the round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup™ following their 2-1 defeat to Greece at the Arena Castelão in Fortaleza on Tuesday. All eyes were on the Toure brothers Yaya and Kolo, as they opted to play despite the death of their brother. The Elephants had a bright start to the game, creating a handful of chances which all came to nothing.
Eleven minutes into the match Panagiotis Kone made way for Andreas Samaris after pulling his hamstring. The Greeks made yet another forced substitution in the 24th minute when goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis was replaced by Panagiotis Glykos after complaining about back pains. The African giants dictated the match in all aspects deep inside the opening stanza but found themselves trailing in the 42nd minute when Cheick Tiote sent a half-cooked pass to Yaya Toure.
Samaris intercepted and initiated a move forward and was at the end of it to boot as he kept his cool to beat the keeper. The match went to the break with the Europeans in front by a single goal. The Ivorians were lively early in the second stanza but couldn’t benefit from it. Yaya’s poor corner kick in the 61st minute was well defended by the Greeks and they launched an attack which resulted in a free kick that Georgios Karagounis sent straight int the wall.
Sabri Lamouchi’s men remained under siege with Karagounis causing troubles for their defence. It needed substitute Wilfried Bony to find the equaliser for the Ivorians. In the 74th minute Gervinho picked the ball on the edge of the box and laid it back for the on-coming Bony and the Swansea hitman sliced the ball past Glykos and Ivory Coast were on their way to the Second Round.
But alas, the African dream was put to an end one minute into the stoppage time when Giovanni Sio gave away a penalty. Georgios Samaras made no mistake from 12-yards as he slotted home to send the Elephants home. Final score 2-1 to the Greeks who will meet Costa Rica in the Last 16 on Sunday in Recife.