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Knockout stage looms for Ivory Coast, Colombia

Thursday, June 19, 2014

BRASILIA, Brazil - As two of world football's underachieving nations, Ivory Coast and Colombia will be desperate not to let slip a rare chance to qualify for the knockout stages of the World Cup when they meet in Brasilia tomorrow.

Both teams opened Group C with victories, meaning another in the Brazilian capital will almost certainly guarantee a place in the last 16.

"It's looking a little bit like a final of the group," Ivory Coast coach Sabri Lamouchi said, "(and) I'm pretty sure the winner will be qualified for the next phase."

That would be a first for the Ivorians, who failed to get out of difficult groups in 2006 and 2010.

Colombia, meanwhile, has only advanced from its group once in four World Cups — in 1990.

Expectations had been tempered this time round after star striker Radamal Falcao was ruled out of the tournament with a knee injury, but a 3-0 win over Greece has raised belief that the Colombians have the tools to cope without their one world-class player. "Colombia proved (against Greece) that we have many positive assets," Colombia coach Jose Pekerman said.

"We can play, we can create good opportunities and we can take them.

"All the players did what they were expected to do and that makes us very confident."

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