Ivory Coast 2 Japan 1 Video Highlights

As expected Ivory Coast beat Japan but they had to do it the hard way.

Japan have struggled in qualifying, they can be a wonderful passing side at time and have a goal threat within them but are woefully inconsistent. They can also turn in performances that make you wonder if you are watching the same side that outplayed Holland in a friendly.

I'm expecting Ivory Coast to win this group so a victory was just the start I was looking for but it was Japan got off to a flier with a goal after just 16 minutes. AC Milan attacking midfielder Keisuke Honda hammered the ball home from inside the box with his left foot.

It took Ivory Coast until the 64th minute to find a way through when the first of two headers got them back into the game. You would expect a team containing Yaya Touré, Kalou, Bony, Tioté, Gervinho and former Tottenham player Didier Zokora to have to much for Japan and it was two of their cast of names who produced the headers.

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First Wilfred Bony then Gervinho squeezed home a header within 2 minutes of each other. Didier Drogba came off the bench after 62 minutes to change the laboured Ivory Coast performance. In the first half they had the ball but couldn't break down the Japanese defence and Japan looked the more dangerous side on the counter attack.

After the interval though it was right-back Serge Aurier who supplied the crosses to set up the win only minutes after Drogda's arrival. Straight away he had caused the defence a problem with a back heel which the Japanese scrambled clear.

This win keeps Ivory Coast and Colombia on course for qualification, the pre-tournament selections for first and second place in the group.

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