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 By Ian Holyman

Yaya Toure backed by coach Lamouchi

Ivory coast defender Kolo Toure insists his side can progress from FIFA World Cup group C despite facing tough opponents Japan, Colombia and Greece.

Ivory Coast boss Sabri Lamouchi has backed midfielder Yaya Toure after his low-key start to the World Cup.

- Crocker: Ivory Coast improve but still fall short

Toure, 31, has been a shadow of the inspirational figure who helped Manchester City to win the Premier League title as the Elephants have experienced mixed fortunes in Group C, beating Japan but losing to Colombia to leave them facing a crunch final game against Greece.

He underwent specialist treatment on a hamstring injury in Qatar prior to the tournament, and Lamouchi said: "I have always been very honest about his state of health. I see him getting stronger all the time.

"We got a tired, injured player but we're happy to have got him. In spite of everything he's very useful for us, and I thought he was much better than in the previous game."

Lamouchi came in for criticism following the Colombia defeat on Thursday, with former Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni being linked with the job.

But the current coach said: "I understand that people would like this job, and that others are preparing for the post-Lamouchi era. But it's not good to announce names before the World Cup."

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