Ivory Coast will on Thursday take on Belgium in an International friendly match at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels.
The Elephants come up against the world’s top-ranked nation who have won 12 games on the spin and will use this friendly as preparation for their upcoming Africa Cup of Nations back to back Qualifiers against Madagascar in November.
As many as 11,000 spectators could be allowed into the ground after the Belgian government lifted various restrictions.
Belgium were initially scheduled to play New Zealand on Thursday evening, but the friendly was called off due to coronavirus travel restrictions and a new opponent has been found in the form of the Ivorians.
The Elephants are in action for the first time in 11 months owing to the coronavirus pandemic, with their most recent match seeing them lose 2-1 away to Ethiopia.
They beat Niger 1-0 in their game before that – Franck Kessie scoring the only goal – and they are third in their qualifying group for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.
Indeed, the defeat to Ethiopia ended a three match winning run for Ivory Coast, who appointed Patrice Beaumelle as their new head coach earlier this year.
The African side more than held their own in their only previous meetings with Belgium – a 2014 friendly that saw Didier Drogba and Wilfried Bony net in a 2-2 comeback draw.
Ivory Coast are expected to field something close to the strongest XI available for the friendlies with Belgium and Japan.
AC Milan midfielder Kessie, on the scoresheet last time out, and Arsenal winger Nicolas Pepe are among those available for selection.
Both teams have more important fixtures on the horizon – UEFA Nations League matches for Belgium, AFCON qualifiers for Ivory Coast – but this should still be an entertaining game.
Belgium are on a superb winning run stretching back nearly two years, whereas Ivory Coast have not played yet in 2020, so we can only see one outcome in Brussels.
IVORY COAST SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Sylvain Gbohouo (TP Mazembe), Eliezer Ira Tape (FC San Pedro), Nicolas Tié (Vitória Guimares SC)
Defenders: Éric Bailly (Manchester United), Ismaël Traore ( SCO Angers), Simon Déli (Club Bruges), Sinaly Diomande (Olympique Lyonnais), Odilon Kossounou (Club Bruges), Serge Aurier (Tottenham),
Midfielders: Jean-Daniel Akpa Akpro (Lazio Rome), Maxwell Cornet (Olympique Lyonnais), Ghislain Konan (Reims), Geoffrey Serey Die (FC Sion), Habib Maiga (FC Metz), Jean Michael Seri (Fulham), Mohamed Doumbia (Dukla Pragues), Franck Kessié (AC Milan)
Forwards: Nicolas Pépé (Arsenal), Max Alain Gradel (Sivasspor), Gervinho (Parmes), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace), Christian Kouamé (Fiorentina), Juma Saeed (Al Koweït), Lagor Junior (Mallorca RCD), Jean Evrard Kouassi (Wuhan Zall), Wilfred Kanon (Pyramids FC)
CHAN 2020 MATCHES
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