August 13, 2013
MY TWO CENTS
The march of the Elephants: exciting match could be on tap when Ivory Coast meets Mexico
By Matt Levine
"The opinions reflected in the My Two Cents columns do not express the views of the editors or management of BigAppleSoccer. com"
The Ivory Coast will take on Mexico at MetLife Stadium on Wednesday, a match that I am looking forward to very much.
Ever since the 2006 World Cup, I’ve had a soft spot for the African nation. Watching them compete in that year’s group of death and almost making it out was a joy to watch. I even went as far as to buy an orange kit top from that same year with Didier Drogba’s name on the back.
I’ve since grown to not like Drogba as much (Arsenal killer, diving), but I still respect him for his accomplishments in the game as well as him still being a great striker. He returns back to the Ivory Coast squad after not featuring since the African Cup of Nations loss, missing out on World Cup qualifiers.
Coupled with Drogba’s return, there is a lot to be excited about while watching this Ivory Coast team for fans of the team and neutrals.The Elephants will be run in midfield by the strong presence of Yaya Toure and could feature another strong tackler in Cheikh Tiote. Up top there is the enigmatic Gervinho, Solomon Kalou and Wilfried Bony, who recently signed with Swansea and scored 31 goals last year in the Dutch Eredivise.
There will certainly be a lot of firepower on hand and they could trouble the Mexico defense all night from start to finish, with whoever doesn’t start to add more strength in attack off the bench.
While Ivory Coast and Mexico are two stronger nations in their respective soccer confederations. They have struggled meeting expectations. This is what makes this game so intriguing.
The Elephants again failed to win a major tournament in getting knocked out in ACON after being the favorites heading into the tournament last winter. Mexico was latest seen disappointing in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Both teams could use this game as a way to gain some momentum heading into World Cup qualifiers in September. Ivory Coast should easily make it to the next round of qualifying, but they will face stiffer tests after group play. Mexico sits third in the hexagonal, but doesn't sit comfortably with Honduras and Panama nipping at their heels.
Both teams should provide an entertaining match at MetLife Stadium, which could get them both on track for more important matches to come. I, for one, will be rooting on The Elephants. I may even have to dust off the old orange kit.
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