World Cup 2014: Focus on Japan and South Korea

World Cup 2014: Focus on Japan and South Korea

RECIFE - Japan's technicians must try to outfox a powerful Ivory Coast as the Asian and African powerhouses meet in a clash of styles here Saturday.

The Blue Samurai have established themselves as the leading force on the Asian continent largely thanks to the technical quality of their nimble midfield, while the Ivorians' rely on the power and driving runs of African Player of the Year Yaya Toure and exciting young full-back Serge Aurier.

Whether it is Japan's guile or the Elephants' physical force, whoever comes out on top in the Pernambuco Arena on Brazil's north-east coast will put themselves in a fine position from which to go on and qualify for the last 16.

A group that also contains Greece and a Colombia side deprived of the injured Radamel Falcao could be one of the most open of this World Cup, but Ivory Coast coach Sabri Lamouchi is hopeful his side can progress.

"Our ambition is to go beyond the first phase as it is something the Ivory Coast have never managed before," said the Frenchman, who is the youngest coach at the finals at the age of 42.

The Elephants' Golden Generation, led by veteran striker Didier Drogba, have bowed out at the group stage in each of the last two World Cups and Lamouchi knows the importance of getting a positive result against Japan.

"In the last two years I have brought my ideas, my methods. I can assure you we have worked very well," he added.

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