Ivory Coast was close to gaining a draw between Greece if it wasn’t for the very late penalty shot by Georgios Samaras that secured their victory. This was a crucial match for the Greek as they need to win this game and pray that Japan will lose against Colombia in order for them to win a slot in the top 16. This is the first time that Greece has made it through the knockout stage.
Ivory Coast on the other hand, just needs to win and they are in to the knockouts. It has been said that Ivory Coast player will receive an undisclosed monetary bonus if they win over Greece. Although a draw would have been enough for the Le Elephante in order to join the rest of the winning teams in the top 16.
According to Greece manager before the games “We need to find a way to put the Ivorians under pressure.”
It was an exciting 90 minute match at Estádio Castelão, Fortaleza as Greece faced off with Ivory Coast and what is said to be a critical game for both teams. But it was not an easy first half for the Greeks. Midfielder, Panagiotis Kone seemed to have twisted a hamstring needed a substitution from Andreas Samaris. The Greeks were pumping up their adrenalin during the first half of the games as midfielder, Andreas Samaris, secured a shot right before the end of the first quarter at the 42 minute. It appeared like Kone’s injury may have been a good omen for the team.
Right after the first half ended, Ivory Coast made some changes to their strategy giving them the chance to level the playing field on the 74 minute courtesy of Ivory Coast forward, Wilfried Bony. The team made sure that they would be able to equalize the score and rally the time till the end of the games.
Unfortunately, Greece was determined to win the game. It was during the last few minutes when the 29 year old forward, Samara, was given a free penalty shot securing the win for the Greeks. Greece will now face Costa Rica for their match in the knock outs.