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Lamouchi praises Toure brothers

23 Jun 2014 16:46:56

Lamouchi praises Toure brothers

Ivory Coast coach Sabri Lamouchi has thanked Toure brothers Yaya and Kolo for their courage amid tragedy at the World Cup.

The Toures have vowed to play on in Brazil following the death of their 28-year-old brother Ibrahim last week.

It means both players will be available for the Elephants' decisive final Group C game against Greece, when the Africans will attempt to secure a last-16 place.

Lamouchi told FIFA.com: "It's tough to talk about football when you get news like that. It seems inappropriate somehow.

"What Yaya and Kolo have been through is a real tragedy. We're here for them and their entire family.

"They had a crucial and difficult decision to make and they decided to stay.

"Where I'm concerned, when I'm preparing for the upcoming match, I try to be as professional as possible. I speak to them as men, which is what they are.

"They made an extremely tough decision and I'm grateful to them for their courage."

Ivory Coast know they will qualify for the knockout phase for the first time with victory in Fortaleza on Tuesday.

Anything less, however, could prove costly with both Greece and Japan still in with a chance of joining Colombia in the next round.

Ivory Coast have a two-point advantage over Greece and Japan and odds are clearly in their favour. Greece are also still to score in the tournament.

But Lamouchi is taking nothing for granted.

"We mustn't get carried away," he said. "We are fully focused on the match.

"We know that victory would allow us to write our names in Ivorian football history.

"That would be a great achievement and the players are well aware of that, so it would be pointless to try to heap extra pressure on them.

"We mustn't forget that Ivory Coast have only played eight World Cup games, which is nothing.

"There are no guarantees we will make it through. We have to come up with the goods on the pitch against a Greece team with a very solid backline. We are preparing with this in mind."

Greece, with the worst goal difference in the group, know they have no room for error whatsover and must win while hoping the outcome of Japan's clash with Colombia is favourable.

Greece have so far failed to impress, having lost 3-0 to Colombia and played out a drab goalless draw with Japan.

Striker Kostas Mitroglou, who was unable to prevent Fulham's relegation after an £11million move in January, hopes all will come good.

The 26-year-old told reporters: "With the hard work we've been putting in and a little luck, the goals will come.

"The task is simple. We have to win."

Mitroglou was withdrawn in the first half against Japan through injury but is expected to be fit to feature. Captain Konstantinos Katsouranis, however, is unavailable through suspension.

Ivory Coast also have a player suspended in former Tottenham defender Didier Zokora.

Kolo Toure, for what would be an emotional appearance, is the most likely replacement.


PA

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