Ivory Coast will take a “very cautious” approach in their World Cup clash with Greece on Tuesday, coach Sabri Lamouchi said, keeping his final lineup a mystery as the African team look to reach the tournament’s knockout stage for the first time.
The African team, who sit just behind Colombia in Group C with one victory and one loss, will seek to score but also keep a tight defense as they seek to secure the win they need to guarantee making the last 16.
“We’re one of the teams that tries to score. We have to reach a certain balance, so we have a very compact team, but Greece is very good,” Lamouchi told a news conference at the Castelao arena on Monday.
“We have to be very cautious. We have to attack and keep our rearguard.”
Lamouchi has made up his mind on his lineup, but decided not to say whether inspirational striker Didier Drogba would start after coming off the bench in the opening two matches.
“The difference between you and me is that I know what I will do,” Lamouchi said.
“This is a decisive match tomorrow. I have 23 people from Ivory Coast and they all want to make history, whoever happens to be in the pitch.”
Drogba has a great influence on the rest of the team, midfielder Max Gradel added.
“You know how he is as a player and a man, he brings a lot of things, experience,” Gradel said.
“Even if he’s not in the match, his importance is very great for us. When he fields it, he does his best and I think he shows the way for us and we will try to be as good as he is.”
Lamouchi said he would keep close tabs on the other Group C match between Japan and Colombia, but will remain focused on his own players.
“We will follow it obviously,” he said. “I think the best thing would be not to make any plans. If things go well, if we start well and win this match, we will be in the match of 16.”
“We’ve come here not just to participate in this World Cup, but to make it to the knockout phase,” Lamouchi said.
“It will be hard. It’s very rare for Greece to lose two matches in a row and for us it will be decisive.” [Reuters]