Ivory Coast - a guide to Sabri Lamouchi's men
All four sides drawn in Group C will be hopeful of their chances to progress, but just how far can they go? Ahead of their third World Cup appearance, Sky Sports takes a closer look at the Ivory Coast.
Last Updated: 09/06/14 2:26pm
Didier Drogba and Yaya Toure have helped the Ivory Coast become a respected force in international football and a relatively favourable draw means that they will be eyeing the knock-out rounds.
The Ivory Coast are hoping to make it beyond the group stages of the World Cup for the first time and, with a number of big-name stars at his disposal, manager Sabri Lamouchi should be optimistic of progression from Group C.
Qualifying proved to be somewhat of a formality for Lamouchi’s side as they topped their group before cruising past Senegal in the play-offs with a 4-2 win on aggregate.
It is likely to be a final World Cup for 36-year-old striker Didier Drogba and he remains the Ivory Coast’s talisman, while Yaya Toure will provide the engine in midfield on the back of an outstanding, title-winning campaign with Manchester City.
Ivory Coast’s Group C fixtures:
Saturday June 14: Ivory Coast v Japan – Recife (23:00)
Thursday June 19: Colombia v Ivory Coast – Brasilia (17:00)
Tuesday June 24: Greece v Ivory Coast – Fortaleza (21:00)
Coach: Sabri Lamouchi
A distinguished playing career saw Lamouchi star for Marseille, Monaco, Parma and Inter Milan among others, as well as representing the French national team on 12 occasions. This is the 42-year-old’s first World Cup outing, though, as he was cut from the provisional France squad in 1998 that went on to win the tournament, so he will be desperate to make up for lost time in Brazil this summer. Lamouchi is characterised by his style on the touchlines, but Ivory Coast’s Africa Cup of Nations exit in the quarter-finals last year means that his substance remains under scrutiny from sections of supporters.
Star man: Yaya Toure
The 31-year-old has had some season at the Etihad Stadium and, if it was not for the fine form of Luis Suarez, he would undoubtedly have taken a clean sweep of individual awards to place alongside his Premier League and Capital One Cup medals. However, Toure was named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year after being one of the driving forces in City’s title win with his impressive contribution of 20 goals from midfield. The Ivory Coast have played six World Cup games in their history and Toure has featured in all of them. Providing he can shake off his injury concerns, that trend should continue in Brazil and his presence in the side will give cause for concern to any opposition.
Goalkeepers: Boubacar Barry (Lokeren), Sylvain Gbohouo (Sewe Sport), Sayouba Mande (Stabaek)
Defenders: Jean-Daniel Akpa Akpro (Toulouse), Serge Aurier (Toulouse), Sol Bamba (Trabzonspor), Arthur Boka (Stuttgart), Viera Diarrassouba (Caykur Rizespor), Constant Djakpa (Eintracht Frankfurt), Kolo Toure (Liverpool)
Midfielders: Didier Zokora (Trabzonspor), Geoffroy Serey Die (Basel), Ismael Diomande (St Etienne), Max Gradel (St Etienne), Cheick Tiote (Newcastle United), Yaya Toure (Manchester City), Didier Ya Konan (Hannover), Mathis Bolly (Fortuna Dusseldorf)
Forwards: Wilfried Bony (Swansea City), Didier Drogba (Galatasaray), Gervinho (Roma), Salomon Kalou (Lille), Giovanni Sio (Basel).
British based players: Kolo Toure (Liverpool), Cheick Tiote (Newcastle), Yaya Toure (Manchester City), Wilfried Bony (Swansea).
Sky Bet odds: 150/1
Ivory Coast are bidding to progress beyond the World Cup group stages for the first time in their history and have every chance in a group that includes Colombia, Greece and Japan. The Elephants are 4/1 shots to top their group and 2/1 to go as far as they second round before being eliminated. The African side were unbeaten during their qualifying campaign, scoring 15 goals en route to Brazil, and possess plenty of firepower in the likes of Drogba (80/1), Wilfred Bony (100/1), former Arsenal striker Gervinho (150/1) and Yaya Toure (150/1) who all feature in the top scorer market.