Group C

Yaya Touré.

Yaya Touré. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

This is one of only two groups which doesn't feature a previous winner – and some suspect it is likely to be the case when the tournament reaches its conclusion. But Colombia are currently ranked fourth in the world, which might surprise a few.

Greece are never the easiest of opponents: they are as stubborn as mules at times, while the Ivory Coast have a generation of great names to call upon.

Didier Drogba is past his best, but Yaya Toure, in normal circumstances, would be a huge asset. Instead, he is a bit of a laughing stock, thanks to his agent and the absence of a bit of love from Manchester City on his birthday. Toure may have other things on his mind: like where he will be playing next season. Japan, as usual, are full of promise, but may struggle to deliver.

• Colombia


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Manager: Jose Pekerman

Star player: Falcao

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Previous record: Round of 16, 1990

Summary: The arrival of Jose Nestor Pekerman to replace coach Leonel Alvarez proved to be a turning point for Los Cafeteros, who went on to win five of their next six games. Might surprise a few – dangerous.

• Côte d'ivoire

Manager: Sabri Lamouchi

Star player: Yaya Toure

Previous record: Group stages

Summary: In Yaya Toure they have one of the potential stars of the tournament. Have suffered from some very difficult draws and consequently, never been past the group stages – that should change this time.

• Greece

Manager: Fernando Santos

Star player: Giorgos Karagounis

Previous record: Group stages

Summary: Their stunning Euro 2004 triumph has never been reflected in the World Cup finals where they have, quite frankly, been awful. Grind teams into submission with their defensive style.

• Japan

Manager: Alberto Zaccheroni

Star player: Keisuke Honda

Previous record: Round of 16

Summary: Despite the highly-publicised launch of the J.League with a host of well-paid foreign imports, Japan have never quite been able to realise their ambitions – the odd individual emerges now and then, but that's it.

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