Colombia Seen Being Knockout Round Headache: World Cup Group CDex McLuskey
World Cup Group C is trouble for prognosticators. Whoever advances out of Colombia, Ivory Coast, Japan and Greece also might be trouble for their knockout-round opponent, too.
* Starless Colombia: While Colombia is favored by Bloomberg Sports analysis to win the group over Greece, Japan and the Ivory Coast, the journey probably won’t be easy. The team lost Radamel Falcao, who hasn’t yet recovered from knee-ligament surgery in January. The 28-year-old Monaco striker scored nine times in 13 qualifying games as Colombia earned a World Cup place for the first time in 16 years.
* Second Among Equals: Behind Colombia, the experts can’t agree on who will advance. Bloomberg Sports analysis says it’ll be Greece, with a 54 percent chance. Irish bookmaker Paddy Power says it’ll be Ivory Coast, which has even odds ahead of Japan (6-5) and Greece (15-8).
* Upset Special: Whoever makes it has the potential to be a headache to the teams from Group D (Italy, Uruguay, England, Costa Rica) that advance. Greece allowed four goals in qualifying, one less than Spain, which played two fewer games. Ivory Coast has marquee players in strikers Didier Drogba (Galatasaray), Salomon Kalou (Lille) and Wilfried Bony (Swansea City), and midfielder Yaya Toure (Manchester City). Japan, while ranked 47th by FIFA, beat Belgium 3-2 and tied the Netherlands in exhibitions.
* Game Schedule: June 14 -- Colombia vs Greece, Ivory Coast vs Japan; June 19 -- Colombia vs Ivory Coast, Japan vs Greece; June 24 -- Japan vs Colombia, Greece vs Ivory Coast.
* Bloomberg Sports’ Title Chances -- Colombia 4 percent; Greece 1.7 percent; Japan 0.7 percent; Ivory Coast 0.5 percent.