Dreadlocked and deadly on the ball, Gervinho and Juan Cuadrado, the 'Pasta Rockets' of Serie A go head to head on Thursday as Côte d'Ivoire and Colombia tussle for FIFA World Cup™ Group C supremacy.
Gervinho, who features for AS Roma, and Cuadrado of Fiorentina are distinctive figures with their standout hairstyles and cut a stylish dash on the pitch where they are regarded as two of the best dribblers in the Italian top flight.
Former Arsenal striker Gervinho is "irreplaceable" according to Roma coach, Rudi Garcia, however, Côte d'Ivoire coach Sabri Lamouchi is more demanding: "He creates a lot of opportunities for himself but misses a lot. If only he could put more in the back of the net," Lamouchi told AFP.
Gervinho scored nine times and made ten assists in Serie A last season, as well as hitting three goals and two assists in the Coppa Italia. He also scored his first FIFA World Cup goal in the 2-1 win over Japan: an off-balance header which would have been applauded by the likes of fellow poachers Gerd Müller or Filippo Inzaghi.
He creates a lot of opportunities for himself but misses a lot. If only he could put more in the back of the net.
He would not look out of place in a Brazilian team either where one-word names are common currency. Born Gervais Yao Kouassi, he shortened it to Gervinho in an act of self-confidence to reflect his liking for the Brazilian style of play.
Alongside the likes of Didier Drogba and Yaya Toure, the Roma player is growing into his role with Côte d'Ivoire. "He has confidence in himself and, little by little, he is becoming an important part of the team," said Lamouchi.
Gervinho grew up playing on the wings, a position that has become more and more crucial to his development. "The dribble, it's something I have always done," he told AFP.
Juan Cuadrado plays the same explosive role with Fiorentina and with Colombia.
He scored 11 club goals in the Italian season just completed and with Spain's Borja Valero, formed a crucial partnership as the Florence club were deprived for long periods of the services of Mario Gomez and Giuseppe Rossi.
His lone setback was being suspended for the Coppa Italia final which Fiorentina lost 2-1 to Napoli. The 26-year-old is being courted by other clubs, with champions Juventus reportedly showing interest.
Before hitting the big time in Italy, he started at Independiente Medellin in Colombia prior to switching to Serie A where he played for Udinese and Lecce. He scored on his international debut against Venezuela in 2010 and achieved the dream of many South American players: to get on the scoresheet against Brazil which he did in a 1-1 friendly draw in Miami in 2012.