Ivory Coast Rallied Past Japan For 2-1 World Cup Win, Once Didier Drogba Arrived (VIDEOS/GIF)

06/14/2014 10:54 pm ET | Updated Jun 14, 2014

Didier Drogba did not score a goal for the Ivory Coast. Didier Drogba did not even start for the Ivory Coast. But Didier Drogba seemed to make all the difference for the Ivory Coast.

Les Elephants rallied past Japan for a 2-1 win in their World Cup opener, scoring both goals within minutes of the 36-year-old striker's introduction as a second-half substitute. Left on the bench at the start of the Group C match at Arena Pernambuco in Recife on Saturday evening, Drogba was called into action in the 62nd minute with his team trailing 1-0. In the 64th minute, Wilfried Bony pulled the Ivory Coast level with a glancing header off a cross from Serge Aurier that beat Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima.

Wilfried Bony's goal for #CIV vs. #JPA. That Aurier cross! on Twitpic(GIF via @stighefootball)

In the 66th minute, Aurier set up another goal. This time Gervinho was the Ivory Coast attacker to get his head to the ball.

The Samurai Blue grabbed the early advantage through Keisuke Honda in the 16th minute. The Japan striker received a crossing pass in the penalty area, turned the ball toward goal with a touch of his right root and then lashed a shot left-footed shot into the net.

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PHOTOS: Ivory Coast vs. Japan
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