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    Greece 2-1 Ivory Coast: Dramatic Last Second Samaras Penalty Sends His Side Through In Thriller

    Chris Deeley
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    GettyImages -ImagebankIL

    A last-second penalty for Greece broke Ivorian hearts and put the Greeks through to the last 16 of the World Cup for the first time in their history in incredible circumstances after the Ivory Coast looked nailed on to go through.


    The Ivory Coast knew that a win would guarantee them a spot in the second round and a draw would almost certainly do the job, whereas a Greek win would give the European side a good chance of qualification depending on the result of Japan's game against Colombia.


    The Elephants brought the talismanic Didier Drogba into their starting XI for the first time in the tournament, as he took the place of Wilfried Bony.


    The game started slowly, which was perhaps to be expected with Greece's reputation for stodgy defensive play.


    Didier Drogba's side started the strongest, with Gervinho once again providing their main attacking threat. Panagiotis Kone came off injured for the Greeks before even quarter of an hour passed, and was replaced by Andreas Samaris.


    They were hit with another injury before the 25th minute, with Orestis Karnezis being forced off to be replaced by Panagiotis Glykos.


    Greece grew into the game though, and hit the bar after a brilliant breakaway, with José Holebas starting and finishing the fast, flowing move.


    When they took the lead ten minutes later, it wasn't even particularly against the run of play. Samaris combined with Samaras, with the substitute firing past Boubacar Barry to score his country's first goal of the tournament and put Greece provisionally into the last 16.


    Ivory Coast coach Sabri Lamouchi seemed to have stuck a rocket up his players at half time, and they responded by redoubling their attacking efforts.


    However, it was still Greece who had the best chances in that period, Dimitris Salpingidis and Lazaros Christodoulopoulos coming close before Karagounis hit the bar with a thunderbolt from range.


    Bony came on after the hour mark and immediately made an impression with a couple of half-chances within minutes of arriving on the pitch. However, his touches and shot were poor and Greece could survive a while longer.


    The goal was coming though and it was no surprise that it fell to that man Bony to slide home from Gervinho's remarkably composed pass in the box.


    Bony's strike changed the group standings all over again, meaning that his side would go through ahead of Greece and Japan.


    Greece were painfully unlucky yet again as they were denied by the woodwork for the third time in the match, this time through a Vasilis Torosidis shot from a tight angle.


    But their luck finally came through in the dying seconds of the game, as Samaras was fouled in the box. He got up and dusted himself off to blast the spot kick past Barry to secure an incredible victory for the brave Greeks, putting them through behind group winners Colombia.

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