RECIFE, Brazil (SportingAlert.com) — Didier Drogba is only on the bench for the Ivory Coast in their FIFA World Cup Group C clash with Japan at Arena Pernambuco Saturday night.
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The former Chelsea forward will watch the kick-off from the bench, as Salomon Kalou, Gervinho and Wilfried Bony have been selected to lead the attack for The Elephants.
Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure has come through a fitness test to start in the middle of the pitch alongside Ismael Tioté and Serey Die, while Didier Zokora and Serge Aurier are both in the back line.
Kolo Toure also starts on the bench for the Ivory Coast, who are in a group with Columbia and Greece.
New Cologne striker Yuya Osako will lead the attack for Japan as Manchester United playmaker Shinji Kagawa and AC Milan attacker Keisuke Honda also start.
Makoto Hasebe, Shinji Okazaki and Yuto Nagatomo are in the starting lineup as well, while Yoshito Okubo and Yasuhito Endo are on the bench.
Ivory Coast v Japan
Ivory Coast: Barry, Aurier, Bamba, Zokora, Boka, Tiote, Yaya Toure, Die, Gervinho, Bony, Kalou
Subs: Gbohouo, Viera, Kolo Toure, Bolly, Akpa Akpro, Drogba, Konan, Diomande, Gradel, Djakpa, Sio, Sayouba
Japan: Kawashima, Uchida, Morishige, Yoshida, Nagatomo, Yamaguchi, Hasebe, Okazaki, Honda, Kagawa, Osako
Subs: Nishikawa, Gotoku Sakai, Endo, Kiyotake, Kakitani, Okubo, Aoyama, Konno, Inoha, Saito, Hiroki Sakai, Gonda
Referee: Enrique Osses (Chile)