With players in many of Europe’s top teams and a reputation for forward attack, Cote d’Ivoire were unlucky in 2006 to be in a group with heavyweights Argentina and Holland. Their 2010 group doesn’t bode well either (Brazil and Portugal), but on African soil, the fans will be with them, even if the score is not.
After a disappointing quarter-final finish in the 2010 African Cup of Nations, coach Vahid Halilhodzic was given the boot. Just months before the FIFA World Cup, former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson was appointed manager. Post England, Eriksson has had varied success, with short spells at Man City, the Mexican national team and Notts County.
Player to watch
Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou, both of Chelsea, have long been a formidable team up front. But their star-status might well be eclipsed by Barcelona midfielder Yaya Toure. A strong, sturdy player, Yaya holds the midfield together with aplomb.
We’re on the ball
World Cup appearances: 1
Previous best: Group stages, 2006
Odds of winning: 30/1
Strange but true: Thirty-one of the 33-strong squad play for European clubs
Fixtures: Portugal, June 15, 6pm, Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth Brazil, June 20, 10.30pm, Johannesburg Korea DPR, June 25, 6pm, Nelspruit