2014 World Cup Group C: Five questions

What will the tournament's opening games hold for Ivory Coast, Colombia, Greece and Japan?

Didier Drogba and Ivory Coast will have one last chance at the 2014 World Cup to make good on their 'Golden Generation'. Mike Stone / Reuters
Powered by automated translation

Will Japan regret not basing themselves in Brazil’s northeast?

Japan will be based in cool and wet Sao Paulo, yet their three group-stage games will take place in Recife, Natal and Cuiaba – all of which will be humid and draining. As we saw at the Confederations Cup last summer when they lost 4-3 to Italy in Recife, if Japan are not acclimatised, they cannot sustain their pressing game over 90 minutes.

One-word answer: Yes

Can Ivory Coast’s Golden Generation finally – finally! – leave their mark on the world stage?

The Elephants debuted at the 2006 tournament, but failed to progress through a tough group. The draw for 2010 was also unkind and produced a similar result: a group stage exit. The core of the team remains, but Didier Drogba is now 36, Yaya Toure 31 and Didier Zokoro 33. This year is their chance to come good – and the draw has presented them with a group from which they should progress. But will they?

One-word answer: No

Can Colombia qualify from the group despite Falcao’s absence?

In Porto’s Jackson Martinez and Monaco’s James Rodriguez they still have two top-class players to spearhead a run to the knockout rounds. However, they will face a tough last 16 encounter against Italy, England or Uruguay.

One-word answer: Yes

Will Greece bring anything more to the table other than defensive, unattractive football?

It is 10 years since Greece stunned all of Europe by winning the European Championships and their style has not altered all that much in the past decade. They continue to defend heroically, but struggle for goals netting just 12 times in their eight qualifying wins. Konstantinos Mitroglou bagged a hat-trick in their play-off victory over Romania, but they drew 0-0 with Portugal earlier this week.

One-word answer: No

Can Shinji Kagawa put a poor season behind him and step up for his country?

Kagawa endured a rough season under David Moyes at Manchester United, but for his national team he is deemed crucial to their philosophy and has proved himself as a tireless, reliable performer. With added responsibility and operating in his preferred position just behind the attack, Kagawa will appear a different player, an important player.

One-word answer: Yes

Follow us on Twitter @SprtNationalUAE