El Salvador vs Ivory Coast Pre-World Cup friendly match will take place at the Toyota Stadium, Frisco, Texas on Wednesday June 4, 2014 (6:00 PM PST).
The match against El Salvador will be Ivory Coast’s final preparation game before the Elephants kick off their World Cup campaign against Japan on the 15th of June.
Despite being hailed as the best team in Africa, Ivory Coast have never made it past the group stages of the World Cup, but in all fairness to the African side – they were placed in a ridiculously difficult group in the past two editions of the competition.
This time around though, the Ivorians have been handed a fairly manageable group consisting of Japan, Colombia and Greece, and will have no excuses if they do not make it into at least the knock-out phase of the tournament in Brazil.
Ivory Coast have not had a good preparation for the World Cup though as they have failed to win either of their friendly clashes against Belgium and Bosnia & Herzegovina. Therefore, manager Sabri Lamouchi will be desperate to get a comprehensive victory over minnows El Salvador on Wednesday evening and head into the World Cup with a bit of momentum.
El Salvador have an inauspicious record in the World Cup as their 10-1 defeat against Hungary in Spain back in 1982 remains the biggest ever loss recorded in the history of the competition. However, since their appearance in the World Cup in 1982, La Selecta have never even come close to claiming a berth at the world stage.
Although El Salvador did put in a couple of promising performances in their CONCACAF qualification campaign, they ultimately lost out to Mexico and Costa Rica, while their display in the CONCACAF Gold Cup was very disappointing.
El Salvador have not played a competitive fixture since their 5-1 hammering loss against United States in the Gold Cup back in July last year and the clash against African giants Ivory Coast will certainly be a big test. While no one expects them to claim a victory – a good performance will go a long way in handing confidence to the demoralized El Salvador side.
Manager Sabri Lamouchi did not field his strongest side during Ivory Coast’s loss against Bosnia & Herzegovina last time out and it was evident after the Elephants put-in an inept display.
Considering that the game against El Salvador is the final preparation match for the Ivory Coast ahead of the World Cup, Lambouchi will certainly look to field his strongest side on Wednesday and he will be expecting a much improved display from his players.
Bubacar Barry should start in goal in place of Sylvain Gbohouo while Constant Djakpa and Jean-Daniel Akpa-Akpro are also most likely to make way for Serge Aurier and Arthur Boka. With Kolo Toure out will illness, Sol Bamba and Didier Zokora will probably retain their place in the starting lineup.
In midfield the likes of Gervinho and Salomon Kalou could start in place of Max Gradel and Mathis Bolly while Chieck Tiote will probably partner superstar Yaya Toure in midfield.
With Lacina Traore cut from the squad, inspirational captain Didier Drogba will most likely start in attack and he will be partnered by Wilfried Bony, completing a powerful attacking lineup.
Lacina Traore, Seydou Doumbia, Brice Dja Djedje, Benjamin Angoua and Badra Ali have all been cut from the 23-man squad travelling to Brazil and will not feature.
El Salvador have not played a game since their 5-1 loss to the USA back in July last year and it is unclear as to what kind of lineup manager Albert Roca will select.
Benji Villalobos or Derby Carrillo could start in goal while the defence should consist of Xavier Garcia, Victor Turcios, Steve Purdy and Milton Molina. The likes of Jonathan Barrios, Alexander Mendoza and Alexander Larin are also in contention.
Jaime Alas and Andres Flores are experienced campaigners at the international stage and will start in midfield and duo will most likely be accompanied by Arturo Alvarez and Darwin Ceren. Herbert Sosa and Oscar Ceren will also be hoping to earn starts.
Star man Rodolfo Zelaya will most likely be leading the line for Roca’s side and looks set to be partnered by Rafael Burgos in attack.
El Salvador (Probable XI): Villalobo; Garcia, Turcios, Purdy, Molina; Alas, Flores, Alvarez, Darwin, Ceren; Zelaya, Burgos
Ivory Coast (Probable XI): Barry; Aurier, Zokora, Bamba, Arthur Boka; Gervinho, Tiote, Toure, Kalou; Drogba, Bony
El Salvador: L D L W L
Ivory Coast: D W D D L
El Salvador vs Ivory Coast Prediction
Heading into the game, there only seems to be one winner. The Ivory Coast boast a team full of players plying their in top clubs across Europe while El Salvador’s side consist of fairly unknown home-based talent.
That being said though, the Ivorians should not be complacent as El Salvador are capable of springing a surprise. Strange as it may sound for a friendly match, it is a game which the Ivorians desperately need to win as anything other than a victory will mean that Lamouchi’s men will head into the World Cup short on confidence.
For El Salvador, the match is a great test as well as a fantastic opportunity to prove their credentials and a good performance will give them belief that they can mix it up against the big boys as well.
Considering the strength of their squad Ivory Coast should grab a comfortable victory over El Salvador but they will certainly need to play well in order to do so.
El Salvador 1 – 3 Ivory Coast
El Salvador vs Ivory Coast Television
The El Salvador vs Ivory Coast match be televised in the USA on UbeIN Sports en Español, beIN Sports USA, beIN Sports Play and Univision Deportes at 6:00 PM Pacific on Wednesday.