International Friendly Preview: El Salvador v Ivory Coast
By Football News
Ivory Coast coach Sabri Lamouchi will name close to his strongest starting team against El Salvador on Wednesday.
Lamouchi gave some of his fringe players a chance to shine in Ivory Coast's 2-1 loss to Bosnia and Herzegovina on Friday and then cut Lacina Traore, Seydou Doumbia, Brice Dja Djedje, Benjamin Angoua and Badra Ali on Sunday to finalise his 23-man squad for the FIFA World Cup.
Traore started against Bosnia in St Louis, while Dja Djedje and Doumbia got time on the pitch after half-time, however, it was not enough for them to earn a ticket to Brazil.
Ivory Coast, who are known as the Elephants, will face El Salvador in Dallas on Wednesday in their final pre-World Cup friendly and speaking after the loss to Bosnia, Lamouchi indicated he would select a line-up 'closer to the one that will play the first match' in Brazil.
"We had a slight improvement in the second period but we have not been able to instil doubt in the opponent," the 42-year-old French coach said.
"There are still positive things to remember. We were able to give playing time to some players but it is frustrating to end in defeat.
"The next test match against El Salvador, will be an opportunity to see a team of elephants who will be closer to the one that will play the first match of the 2014 World Cup against Japan."
Against Bosnia, Lamouchi's men trailed 2-0 within an hour but when captain Didier Drogba came off the bench in the 63rd minute, Ivory Coast improved.
Drogba scored for Ivory Coast in second-half stoppage time and remains vital to his country's chances in Brazil, having scored four goals in their past five matches.
The 36-year-old striker should start against El Salvador, while Salomon Kalou, Yaya Toure and Gervinho are also likely to return to the line-up.
Kolo Toure remains in doubt having contracted malaria, although the Liverpool defender has been named in Ivory Coast's final squad for the World Cup.
Before their loss to Bosnia, Ivory Coast had avoided defeat for four consecutive games, although in a concern for Lamouchi, only one of those matches ended in victory.
In fact, Ivory Coast have only won four times from 12 games in the past 12 months.
El Salvador have not played since July of last year and have registered just two wins in their past 13 international fixtures and Lamouchi will undoubtedly hope Ivory Coast can play themselves into form before they take on Japan on June 14.
Ivory Coast will also face Colombia and Greece in Group C.