WITH all four games in Group D ending in 1-1 draws, it’s all to play for on the final night of action. Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) shares his view on the battle between Cameroon and Ivory Coast.
Cameroon v Ivory Coast | Wednesday 18.00 | ITV4
The group-stage of the Nations Cup comes to a close on Wednesday evening and I reckon I’ve found a bet that will match the heavyweight clash between Cameroon and Ivory Coast in Group D.
More of that a little later but firstly, I just want to slag off Ivory Coast (hopefully) one last time… Why have I got beef with the Elephants? Well they’ve been absolutely appalling in the competition so far. In fact, not far off a disgrace (thanks Jose).
We all knew Herve Renard’s team would be a joke defensively but they’ve failed to even click going forward. Their games against Mali and Guinea have followed the same futile trend; playing pathetically, going behind and sneaking an undeserved late draw.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who’s watched Group D unfold to be sat here, penning a piece on a point-less Elephants side after two games having been odds-on favourites to win both.
Gervinho remains suspended for their clash with Cameroon and although Ivory Coast have been made 13/10 jollies to pocket the points, I’d like to remind you that these two teams met in qualifying. The Elephants were hammered 4-1 away in Yaoundé before being held to a 0-0 draw on home soil.
So no surprises to hear I’m siding with Cameroon on Wednesday. Yes, the Indomitable Lions haven’t set the world alight in their own 1-1 draws against Guinea and Mali but there’s been enough to believe they can get the win they need.
Coach Volker Finke has admitted there are a few injury doubts in the squad but they’re a determined unit, hungry for success on the world stage. They’re a world apart from the rabble that embarrassed themselves at last summer’s World Cup and you can bet your bottom dollar they’ll be focussed on repeating their exploits from qualifying.
One member of the Cameroonian press gave Finke a stark warning in the run-up to the game, claiming, “Everyone in the Cameroon media hates you. Are you going to leave after the tournament?” but the German boss won’t be phased. He’s empowered the collective and it’s time they showed their true colours. I’m a believer.
Cameroon are 5/2 to win the fixture and they’re unbeaten in 10, dating back to the World Cup. Meanwhile, Ivory Coast have W6-D6-L6 in their last 18 with the victories coming against Sierra Leone (x2), Japan, Nigeria, DR Congo and El Salvador. It’s hardly a ringing endorsement for the pre-match favourites.
But I’m going to add a bit of bulk to the price. Well, a lot of bulk to the price actually. I’m going to have a play on Bet365’s 15/2 that Cameroon win and Both Teams To Score as well as Betfred’s 6/5 on Both Teams To Score.
For all their defensive deficiencies, Ivory Coast do boast an excellent scoring record, not failing to get on the scoresheet in a competitive game since the 2012 Nations Cup final. With 22 of their past 27 outings seeing Both Teams To Score banking, it’s hard not to resist a plunge.
Cameroon have netted in nine of their 10 games since the World Cup debacle and that’s led to 5/10 fixtures featuring BTTS winners. The straight Both Teams To Score bet is the safest play but we’re betting with our balls out so don’t shy away from the whopping 15/2. I won’t be.