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Tiote starts, Ivory Coast defeat Japan 2-1

Cheik Tiote started in the middle for Les Elephants, who defeated Japan on the strength of goals from Wilfried Bony and Gervinho.

Mark Kolbe

Cheik Tiote played all 90 minutes Saturday night as his Cote d'Ivoire squad defeated Japan 2-1 in Group C action.

Tiote started in the pivot of the 4-2-3-1 with Serey Die, a familiar position for him, and the pair effectively funneled Japan's attacks to the wings as they largely refused to build through the middle. Japan grabbed the lead in the first half on a fine effort from Keisuke Honda, but following Didier Drogba's introduction in the second half, Les Elephants capitalized on their chances. Tiote won a ball that led to a 64th minute Wilfried Bony header, and Gervinho added another just a minute later. Naturally, the Blue Samurai fought for an equalizer, but tight defense from Tiote and others ensured the victory for the team in orange.

The day was stolen, however, by the Ivorian crowd, who brought some awesomely ridiculous scarves to Brazil:

The Ivory Coast are now second in Group C, as Colombia dispatched of Greece 3-0 earlier in the day. Les Elephants and Colombia will meet on Thursday. The next action for Newcastle players takes place on Sunday as Mathieu Debuchy and Moussa Sissoko (as well as some other French persons, presumably) will take on Honduras.