Having defended a hard-fought 1-1 draw until the very of the second half, the Ivoirians had the chance to seal the fate of the match at the 43rd minute with a fast counterattack, with 4 of theirs against 2 Greeks. Unable to deliver on target, however, Ivory Coast wasted a clear chance in front of the 59,095 fans present.
It was much to their misfortune. At the 90th minute, Sio, which had entered but minutes before, stretched his leg seconds late and fouled Samaras inside the box. The penalty kick was shot by Samara himself. The striker, named man of the match, converted the goal at the 92nd minute and led the Greek to victory by 2-1.
The Greeks were the ones to open the score sheet, at the end of the first half. At the 42nd minute, a mistake in the play going forward by the Ivorians left Samaras with the ball. He quickly served Samaris, who shot fast to put Greece ahead. Ivory Coast managed to maintain hopes of remaining in the competition following a beautifully quick exchange of passes at the 73rd minute. Gervinho received a pass from Kalou and found Bony directly in front of the goal. The striker shot a beautiful hit in the right corner of goalkeeper Karnezis.
The result leaves the European team with four points (and second place) in Group C. It is the first time Greece reaches the round of sixteen in a World Cup. Colombia, who beat Japan by 4-1, finished first with a 100% record: three wins in three matches.
Colombia now faces Uruguay on Saturday (28 June) at 5 PM in the Maracanã stadium. Greece, meanwhile, faces World Cup sensation and group phase surprise Costa Rica. The bout takes place this Sunday (29 June) in the Pernambuco Arena at 5 PM. Japan and Ivory Coast now return home.
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