Our prediction for this match:
After sharing the spoils with Cameroon, Japan will be looking to return to winning ways when they face yet another African side – Ivory Coast in a friendly. The Samurai Blue failed to turn their dominance into goals against Cameroon, and, no doubt, head coach Moriyasu will make changes to the starting XI for the Ivory Coast clash.
The Elephants, on the other hand, did well to hold Belgium to a 1-1 draw in their last friendly international, which is surely giving fans a reason for optimism ahead of the trip to Utrecht. Ivory Coast did well to beat Japan at the 2014 World Cup, and we predict that the history is going to repeat itself. A man to keep an eye on in the away team will be Serie A ace Franck Kessie, who scored a late equalizer in the 1-1 draw with the Red Devils.
Highlighted Player (Keisuke Honda):
Keisuke Honda is considered one of the most famous Japanese footballers. Honda was born in Settsu, Osaka on June 13, 1986 and he started his youth career at his hometown club Settsu FC. In 2004 he signed a professional contract with Nagoya Grampus and he played for the J1-League club from 2004 to 2007.
The left-footed midfielder then moved to Europe, signing a deal with VVV-Venlo on January 16, 2008 and it has to be noted that he scored 24 goals in 68 league appearances for the Dutch outfit. In the winter of 2009 Keisuke Honda joined Russian club CSKA Moscow for an undisclosed fee. The Japanese footballer quickly established himself as CSKA’s key player and in 2013 he won the Russian Premier League title with the Armeitsy.
Nowadays, the Japan international plays for Mexican side Pachuca. As for his international career, Honda made his Japan debut on June 22, 2008. Honda is well known for his accurate and powerful shot and he often scores from free-kicks.
Highlighted Team (Ivory Coast):
Over the years Ivory Coast have established themselves as one of the best African teams. The Elephants won their second Africa Cup of Nations trophy in 2015, with the team beating Ghana in the final of the tournament. Ivory Coast defeated the Black Stars on penalties and it has to be noted that goalkeeper Boubacar Barry scored the winner.
A number of high-profile footballers played (or play) for the Ivory Coast national team, but, no doubt, the most notable players are Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure, Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Eboue, Salomon Kalou and Gervinho. Ivory Coast are well known for their orange kit, but they play their away games in green shirts and green shorts. Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny is regarded as the team’s home stadium.
Didier Zokora is the player with the most caps for the Ivory Coast national team (123), while aforementioned attacker Didier Drogba is the team’s top scorer (65 goals). Drogba is the symbol of the Ivory Coast football and the former Chelsea man played for the national team from 2002 to 2014.