- Title: VARIOUS: FOOTBALL/SOCCER - Ivory Coast World Cup preview
- Date: 17th May 2010
- Summary: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (MARCH 2, 2010) (REUTERS) IVORY COAST PLAYERS JOGGING IN TRAINING IVORY COAST PLAYERS STRETCHING IVORY COAST AND ARSENAL DEFENDER EMMANUEL EBOUE IN TRAINING PHOTOGRAPHER IVORY COAST AND CHELSEA STRIKER DIDIER DROGBA DOING ZIG-ZAG SHORT SPRINTS IN TRAINING LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (MARCH 15, 2010) (REUTERS) SALOMON KALOU (21 ON HAT) TRAINING WITH CHELSEA ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST (MARCH 29, 2010) (REUTERS) WIDE OF CITY CENTRE LARGE PICTURE OF IVORY COAST FANS ON BILLBOARD
- Embargoed: 1st June 2010 13:00
- Topics: Sports
- Reuters ID: LVA5LQ135RFUWYRSFBN2VF856DSV
- Story Text: The Ivory Coast are arguably the strongest of the African teams and will carry the hopes of an expectant continent, but rely too much on Didier Drogba for inspiration.
There are also several weaknesses in key positions, which could cost them but with a few lucky breaks, the Elephants could well become the first African side to advance past the last eight at a World Cup.
The Ivorians finished qualification without defeat, going through 12 matches in two group phases and progressing comfortably.
Disappointed fans are urging their players to bury their egos, seen as a hindrance to their team performance, but they are still gearing up for the contest.
At traffic lights on Abidjan's palm-fringed boulevards, hawkers selling orange Elephants shirts, wigs and Ivorian flags can often be seen making sales to grid-locked drivers.
Factbox on World Cup qualifiers Ivory Coast: World Cup record: Previous appearances in finals: One Best performance: Group stages in 2006 Coach: Sven Goran Eriksson The Swede has been tasked with raising performances after the Ivorians African Cup of Nations flop.
Former England coach Eriksson has been drafted in for the campaign in South Africa following the sacking of Vahid Halilhodzic in February after their quarter-final exit to Algeria in the continental tournament in January.
Key players: Didier Drogba (Chelsea) Position: Striker. Born 11.3.1978 With 40 goals in 60 international appearances, Drogba has proven vital for his country. He took them to the final of the 2006 African Nations Cup and now two World Cup tournaments, although he missed half of the 2010 qualifiers through injury. At club level, he has won both league and cup honours in England with Chelsea, who signed him from Olympique Marseille.
Salomon Kalou (Chelsea) Position: Striker. Born 5.8.1985 As an exciting teenage talent with Feyenoord, Kalou was the subject of a lengthy, but ultimately unsuccessful, bid to win Dutch nationality before the 2006 World Cup. Eventually debuted for the Ivorians, where elder brother Bonaventure had previously been captain.
Yaya Toure (Barcelona) Position: Midfield. Born 13.5.1983 A massive physical presence in the centre of midfield, Toure has taken a circuitous route through clubs in five different countries before signing for European champions Barcelona two years ago.
Squad: Goalkeepers: Vincent Angban (ASEC Abidjan), Boubacar Barry (Lokeren), Aristides Zogbo (Maccabi Netanya), Daniel Yeboah (ASEC Abidjan).
Defenders: Souleymane Bamba (Hibernian), Arthur Boka (VfB Stuttgart), Benjamin Brou Angoua (Valenciennes), Guy Demel (Hamburg SV), Emmanuel Eboue (Arsenal), Abdoulaye Meite (West Bromwich Albion), Steve Gohouri (Wigan Athletic), Siaka Tiene (Valenciennes), Kolo Toure (Manchester City).
Midfielders: Emerse Fae (Nantes), Jean-Jacques Gosso Gosso (Monaco), Abdelkader Keita (Galatasaray), Emmanuel Kone (International Curtea Arges), Gervais Yao Kouassi (Lille), Christian Koffi Ndri (Sevilla), Cheik Ismael Tiote (Twente Enschede), Yaya Toure (Barcelona), Gilles Yapi Yapo (Young Boys Berne), Didier Zokora (Sevilla).
Forwards: Kanga Akale (Racing Lens), Aruna Dindane (Racing Lens), Seydou Doumbia (Young Boys Berne), Didier Drogba (Chelsea), Salomon Kalou (Chelsea), Bakary Kone (Olympique Marseille)
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