Côte d’Ivoire or Ivory Coast is the team holding much of the African dream at the South Africa 2010 World Cup. The Les Elephants have in recent years provided a team with the Quality to match much of the world’s best footballing teams.
But with all the hopes the Africa continent has put behind them, Ivory Coast was eliminated in the first round at Germany 2006, albeit in an extremely difficult group, where they lost 2-1 to giants Argentina and the Netherlands before coming from two goals down to beat Serbia and Montenegro 3-2.
This time round, they are again in the “Group of death’ Group G where they play Portugal, Brazil and North Korea.
The road to South Africa
Befitting their status as one of the continent’s powerhouses, Côte d’Ivoire strode through qualifying without losing a match, running away with their final qualifying group ahead of Burkina Faso, Malawi and Guinea. There only moment of genuine uncertainty came when they were on the brink of qualifying, although – as usual – Didier Drogba responded when his team needed him. The Chelsea man’s decisive 70th-minute goal at Burkina Faso gave the side just enough insurance to hold off the Stallions 3-2 in Ouagadougou, and fittingly, it was his dramatic equaliser after coming off the bench against Malawi that gave the West Africans a 1-1 draw and the point they needed to reach South Africa. All told, the Chelsea man was top scorer for Les Elephants, with six goals in five matches.
Star players of Ivory Coast
Les Elephants feature top-drawer talent throughout their side, with the Chelsea pair of Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou a formidable duo up front. Sevilla’s Didier Zokora and Barcelona’s Yaya Toure provide bite in midfield alongside Marseille’s diminutive Bakary Kone, while the England-based pair of Emmanuel Eboue and Kolo Toure combine with Stuttgart’s Arthur Boka to form one of the best defences in Africa.
The coach of Ivory Coast
Vahid Halilhodzic took the reins of his first national side when he assumed control of Côte d’Ivoire after the 2008 CAF African Cup of Nations. However, the Bosnian only made it through the next edition of the continental contest when he was sacked after a disappointing quarter-final finish at Angola 2010. After Guus Hiddink and Bernd Schuster were both linked with the job, Sven-Goran Eriksson was given the helm just months before the start of the finals.
South Africa 2010 will be Eriksson’s third FIFA World Cup after leading England to the quarter-finals at both the 2002 and 2006 finals. He had an unsuccessful stint with Mexico in the first half of qualifying for 2010, but he was sacked after less than a year. He is a vastly experienced club coach, having led Gothenburg to the UEFA Cup in 1982, and leading teams in Portugal, England and Italy.
Record of Ivoryu Coast
• Côte d’Ivoire were the only nation at Germany 2006 whose squad was made up of players entirely based at clubs outside their home country.
• They are the only team to never failed to score in a FIFA World Cup match.
• Côte d’Ivoire conceded early goals in all three of their 2006 matches, with all six of their goals against coming before the 40th minute.
“At the last World Cup we played really well, but we were unlucky because we were in a very tough group with Argentina and Holland and went out in the first round. But I think with this kind of experience, it will be possible at South Africa 2010 to do much better. Perhaps we can make the quarter-finals and then semi-finals; this is something we can achieve,” Côte d’Ivoire striker and captain Didier Drogba.
Côte d’Ivoire or Ivory Coast national football team Squad
Goalkeepers Ivory Coast
Defenders Ivory Coast
- 2 Brou ANGOUA
- 3 Arthur BOKA
- 4 Kolo TOURE
- 6 Steve GOHOURI
- 17 Siaka TIENE
- 20 Guy DEMEL
- 21 Emmanuel EBOUE
- 22 Souleymane BAMBA
Midfielders Ivory Coast
Strikers of Ivory Coast