For much of Didier Drogba’s Chelsea career, he was referred to as their talisman. After his dramatic injection into the Ivory Coast’s World Cup opener against Japan, he surely holds that moniker in regard to his national squad as well.
When the pony-tailed striker ran onto the pitch in Brazil yesterday, his Elephants were trailing 1-0 to Japan. A mere 100 seconds later, the guys in orange were up 2-1 and in complete control of the game. Although Drogba did not score either goal, the emotional lift from his entrance was palpable, and his passing skills helped set up the first score.
Drogba signed with Italian giant Juventus this spring, but at 36, his best playing days are likely behind him. Then again, if yesterday was any indication, just his presence on the pitch might be enough to inspire the Elephants through a magical run. It will be one of many stories to follow in Brazil during the 2014 World Cup finals.
Of note: As mentioned above, Japan scored the first goal of the match, but eventually suffered defeat. Four other teams (Ecuador, Croatia, Uruguay and Spain) have already experienced the same fate in the first four days of the tournament.
There have been no draws so far in the tournament.