• Columbia
  • Greece
  • Ivory Coast
  • Japan
  • Prediction
  • Matches
Tab 1
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Columbia
When anyone mentions Columbia to me I think of Carlos Valderrama’s hair, John Viafara (I’m sure there was another Columbian that played for Saints, but he was possibly a figment of our imaginations) and I.R.A. No, not that IRA, I’m talking about a band here (aren’t I always?). In fact I am listening to I.R.A. right now, their earlier stuff is pretty basic punk stuff, but their most recent offerings are much more angry and shouty.

Anyway, Argentinian coach Jose Nestor Pekerman came in after Columbia lost to Argentina at home early on in qualification and went on to oversee a run of five wins in their next six games. When Saturday Comes tells me that he is very popular and is credited with uniting the squad that was sometimes troubled by regionalism.

No side in their group let in fewer goals than Columbia’s 13 and only two of their continental rivals scored more than their 27.

Columbia eventually took second place, their highest ever finish since the introduction of the current qualifying system.
The national anthem you’ll hear in the summer is sung by a pop star called Fanny Lu, and they have a player called James Rodriguez.
Will Falcao be fit?
No.

OneBeat


Tab 2
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Greece
I used to have a friend in Greece, he’s an AEK Athens fan and would send me all sorts of newspaper cuttings and photos about them, in fact just yesterday I found the AEK shirt he sent me about 20 years ago. He also sent me records by bands like Deus Ex Machina and others who’s names I never did know as they weren’t ever translated. Current favourite Greek band are Pandimia.

I lost contact with my friend, but he sometimes pops up in When Saturday Comes writing about Greek football.

Greece qualified in some style, their points total of 25 from their ten games would have been enough to see them through as winners in five of the other eight groups, yet they had to endure a play-off after losing out on goal difference to Bosnia-Herzegovina. In the play-offs they beat Romania 3-1 at home and drew 1-1 in Bucharest.

After Euro 2004 I’ve kind of gone off Greece; while I usually like to see an underdog win, their style of footer was so rubbish I couldn’t support them. I’m hoping they are a bit better to watch nowadays.

OneBeat


Tab 3
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Ivory Coast
I have no knowledge of any punk bands from Côte d’Ivoire you’ll no doubt be pleased to learn. In fact pretty much all I know about this country is Drogba, the Toure brothers, Gervinho, Eboue and Kalou. That’s bad isn’t it?

Côte d’Ivoire breezed through their opening qualifying group with four wins from their six matches; they scored 15 goals and conceded just 5, their only dropped points came from two draws against Morocco. Their home-and-away play-off was against Senegal who were one goal away from knocking out the Elephants on away goals with the game at 3-2 on aggregate, but Salomon Kalou's late goal sent the Ivorians into their third consecutive World Cup finals.

Gervinho has had a pretty decent season with Roma you know.

OneBeat


Tab 4
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Japan
Japan is a country that intrigues me; it seems to be totally naive yet technologically advanced; polite and reserved yet crazy bonkers. Musically they have entertained me over the years with some blistering D-Beat hardcore punk as well as some very decent pop-punk. D-Clone sound like a band falling down the stairs while Shonen Knife play sweet Ramones style songs. Gauze and Lip Cream are now considered classic punk bands that are influencing countless western bands - they took the Discharge template, hit the “mental” button and sold it back to us.

Right, Maya Yoshida. I hope he recovers from injury in time to play as I find I always have a soft spot for Japan in major tournaments and it will be good to have a Saints player to cheer on. I remember B and me being overjoyed as we watched Japan’s women’s team win the World Cup, sadly I can’t see the men following suit.

They had a two-year qualifying campaign under Italian coach Alberto Zaccheroni, and along the way they lost to Uzbekistan and Korea DPR early on, and stumbled a bit at the end, but eventually got through at Australia’s expense.

I used to like Keisuke Honda, but I hear he’s been advertising McDonnalds, so I will boo him now. 
Has Tadanari Lee been selected?

OneBeat


Tab 5

OneBeat's Prediction

It's a difficult one to call. I'd like to say Japan, but I think if the Ivory Coast's ageing stars perform they could be hard to beat.

So it'll probably be Columbia.... Or Greece.

I hope that's cleared things up for you.

OneBeat


Tab 6

Group 'C' Matches


  1. Columbia 3-0 Greece - 14th June 2014
  2. Ivory Coast 2-1 Japan - 15th June 2014
  3. Colombia 2-1 Ivory Coast - 19th June 2014
  4. Japan 0-0 Greece - 19th June 2014
  5. Japan 1-4 Colombia - 24th June 2014
  6. Greece 2-1 Ivory Coast - 24th June 2014

Group Table


As at 25.06.14

Country

P

W

D

L

GD

Pts

Columbia

3

3

0

0

7

9

Greece

3

1

1

1

-2

4

Ivory Coast

3

1

0

2

-1

3

Japan

3

0

1

2

-4

1