The Ivory Coast and Japan meet on Saturday as both sides begin their World Cup campaigns in an important match. While Colombia is generally considered the favorite in Group C, the other spot that will guarantee a spot in the Round of 16 is wide open. A win for either side could put them in the driver's seat for advancing to the knockout stages.
It's also going to be a match to two contrasting styles. The Ivory Coast are a big, physical side who will be looking to outmuscle a smaller Japan side built for speed and finesse.
Les Éléphants are led by Didier Drogba and Manchester City midfielder Yaya Touré, or at least they hope so. Touré is still working his way back from a hamstring injury suffered late in the EPL season. Ivory Coast's head coach Sabri Lamouchi has admitted that Touré isn't 100 percent, but he's still pleased with the midfielder's progress. Lamouchi wouldn't say whether Touré would start though, leaving that decision until before the match.
Ivory Coast vs. Japan
Japan's two biggest stars, Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa, both struggled during their club season's, but can erase those disappointing memories with a strong showing on Saturday.
Match Date/Time: 10 p.m. local, 9 p.m. ET
Venue: Itaipava Arena Pernambuco, Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil
TV: ESPN (U.S. - English), ESPN Deportes / Univision (U.S. - Spanish), ITV1 (U.K.), CBC (Canada), NHK (Japan)
United States announcers: Derek Rae, Efan Ekoku
Online: WatchESPN (U.S.), ITV Player (U.K.)