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Home|Football News|World Cup 2006|Teams|World Cup Teams|Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast World Cup 2006 Team Profile

Paul Robinson asks "Who the fouka-fouka are Ivory Coast?"

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The African 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, Angola, Ghana and Togo 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.

World Cup Group C

Argentina (10/6)
Holland (16/6)
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.

Qualifying Results

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.

Star men

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 Dindane (Lens/France).

Pub Quiz facts in brief

Nickname: Les Elephants
Coach: Henri Michel
Founded: 1960
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)

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