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Colombia v Ivory Coast preview

Didier Drogba is likely to once again start on the bench in Thursday's World Cup Group C showdown with Colombia.

Ivory Coast coach Sabri Lamouchi plumped for an attacking trio of front three of Salomon Kalou, Gervinho and Wilfried Bony for the opening group game against Japan.

But it took Drogba's introduction off the bench after an hour to spark Ivory Coast into life after Japan had taken the lead through Keisuke Honda on 16 minutes.

Drogba came on for Serey Die and galvanised the team's attacking unit, with right-back Serge Aurier - a reported Arsenal target as they seek to replace Bacary Sagna - set up goals for Bony and Gervinho.

Drogba's display is unlikely to earn a starting role against the Colombians, though, with Lamouchi saying: "People love Didier Drogba and I know there are a lot of lovers of Drogba's style.

"But you have to understand the last time he played 90 minutes was a few months ago in Turkey. He's just recovered from injury. He made a lot of sacrifices to be here at the World Cup."

Thursday's 5pm kick-off will be the first ever game between Colombia and Ivory Coast - and Jose Pekerman's troops will be in high spirits following their 3-0 demolition of Greece in their opening game.

Colombia striker Carlos Bacca, who started on the bench against the Greeks, has a leg injury and will be out for the rest of the World Cup group stage.

The Sevilla player sustained a leg muscle strain in training and will be sidelined against Ivory Coast and the match against Japan on June 24.

A statement from Colombia's Football Federation read: "Following the tests done by Colombia's medical team, led by Doctor Carlos Ulloa, it has been determined that player Carlos Bacca has suffered a first degree muscle strain and will require a period of treatment from seven to 10 days."

Both teams know another win will almost certainly guarantee a place in the last 16.

And Pekerman is in bullish mood ahead of the showdown, saying: "Colombia proved (against Greece) that we have many positive assets. We can play, we can create good opportunities and we can take them.

"All the players did what they were expected to do and that makes us very confident."

Colombia are having to cope without the services of talismanic Radamel Falcao, who was ruled out of the tournament with a knee ligament injury.

In Falcao's absence, Teofilo Gutierrez is having to step up as Colombia's chief striker and he is already off the mark in Brazil, scoring the team's second against Greece.

Pekerman also has Jackson Martinez in his armoury, and with playmakers James Rodriguez and Juan Cuadrado starting the World Cup well, Colombia pose plenty of attacking threat.