Ivory Coast World Cup 2006 Team Profile
Paul Robinson asks "Who the fouka-fouka are Ivory Coast?"
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group threw up the most surprising results in qualifying for
Germany this year with most of the expected big guns falling by
the wayside and making way for four teams to make their debuts.
Only one of the five African teams, Tunisia,
was present in Japan & Korea four years ago and Ivory Coast,
all taste World Cup action for the very first time.
Ivory Coast has gained deserved respect and attention in qualifying
and friendlies and they'll be looking to perform the distinctive
fouka-fouka goal celebration as much as possible on the world stage.
We'll just have to wait and see how much fouka-fouka-ing goes
on in Germany this year.
Cup Group C
Serbia & Montenegro (21/6)
How on earth did they get here?
Since being founded in 1960 Cote D'Ivoire have had seven
attempts at getting to the World Cup, all ending in failure. The
closest until now was probably last time round when they followed
Tunisia like a shadow throughout the preliminaries, but were pipped
at the post.
Ivory Coast's preliminary group was close again but this
time round it was the Elephants turn to do the pipping. They scraped
through ahead of Cameroon by one point after all was already thought
to be lost when they failed to beat the Lions in September last
year. Dejection turned to ecstasy when they beat Sudan and farcical
events led to a crucial penalty miss by Cameroon.
Needing to win, Barcelona's Eto'o bottled it under the pressure
and refused to take a penalty against Egypt in injury time. The
pressure got the better of Pierre Wome, his shot ricocheting off
the post and sending Ivory Coast ecstatically off to Germany.
6-6-04 Ivory Coast 2-0 Libya
20-6-04 Egypt 1-2 Ivory Coast
4-7-04 Cameroon 1-2 Ivory Coast
5-9-04 Ivory Coast 5-0 Sudan
10-10-04 Benin 0-1 Ivory Coast
27-3-05 Ivory Coast 3-0 Benin
3-6-05 Libya 2-0 Ivory Coast
19-6-05 Ivory Coast 2-0 Egypt
4-9-05 Ivory Coast 2-3 Cameroon
8-10-05 Sudan 1-3 Ivory Coast
The man in charge
A man of masses of experience at international level, Henri Michel
will be making his fourth appearance at the World Cup as manager
this year having taken Tunisia, Cameroon, and his homeland France
to the tournament before.
The 59-year-old ex-midfielder and latterly defender spent his
entire playing career at FC Nantes Atlantique, where he picked up
three league titles, and was capped 58 times by France.
Ivory Coast is staggeringly the sixth international side he has
been in charge of throughout his globe-trotting managerial career,
Morocco and the United Arab Emirates being the only two he hasn't
managed to lead into a World Cup.
Chelsea's acrobatic drama queen Didier Drogba and Lens's
Aruna Dindane are a first rate strike partnership and the main reason
for the team's qualification. Drogba bagged himself nine goals,
second only to the eleven from Togo's Adebeyer, and Dindane
got six. If Drogba can learn the lesson that those in the Premiership
are trying to teach him and stay on his feet long enough, we're
going to see a lot of him on the highlights shows.
Arsenal defender Toure will have to be one of the star men if
Ivory Coast are going to make it out of such a tough group. The
back line is seen as the team's real weak point, with Toure
being the only true world-class player in there and with Argentina,
Holland and Serbia & Montenegro on the attack he's going
to have to really come up with something special to keep them at
bay. If Ivory Coast make it through the group stages it will surely
have a lot to do with this man.
How will they do?
Although many are looking at the elephants as likely candidates
for this year's wild card team with the highly skilled likes
of Drogba on board, just have a look at their group will you? Then
have a look at them. Not likely to happen really is it? Although
more surprising things have happened I suppose. Like Greece
winning Euro 2004 for example. Out in the first round I reckon.
But then again…
What the locals say
“They want this victory to act as a catalyst for peace in
Cote D'Ivoire, to put an end to the conflict and reunite its
people. This success must bring us together.”
Jacques Anouma , Cote D'Ivoire Football Federation President
speaking on behalf of the players after qualifying for Germany.
World Cup Squad
Goalkeepers Jean-Jacques Tizie (Esperance Tunis/Tunisia),
Boubacar Barry Copa (KSK Beveren/Belgium), Gerard Gnanhouan (Montpellier/France).
Defenders Cyrille Domoraud (Creteil/France/D2), Blaise Kouassi
(ES Troyes/France), Abdoulaye Meite (Marseille/France), Etienne
Arthur Boka (Strasbourg/France), Abib Kolo Toure (Arsenal/England),
Emmanuel Eboue (Arsenal/England), Marc Zoro (FC Messina/Italy).
Midfielders Didier Zokora (St Etienne/France), Emerse Fae
(Nantes/France), Kanga Gauthier Akale (Auxerre/France), Romaric
Ndri Koffi (Le Mans/France), Gnegneri Yaya Toure (Olympiakos/Greece),
Gilles Yapi Yapo (Young Boys/SUI), Guy Roland Demel (Hambourg/GER).
Forwards: Bakari Kone (Nice/France), Didier Drogba (Chelsea/England),
Arouna Kone (PSV Eindhoven/Netherlands), Bonaventure Kalou (Paris
Saint-Germain/France), Abdoul Kader Keita (Lille/France), Aruna
Pub Quiz facts in brief
Nickname: Les Elephants
Coach: Henri Michel
Biggest win: 6-0 vs Madagascar (2001), Niger (2000), Botswana
(1992) & Mali (1985)
Biggest defeat: Ghana 6-2 Ivory Coast
World Cup appearances: 1st in 2006
Highest win in qualifying stages: Ivory Coast 5-0 Sudan
Top scorer: Didier Drogba (21)
Most caps: Didier Drogba (29)