Côte d’Ivoire had to wait 76 long years for their first appearance at a FIFA World Cup™ finals. Since their last-gasp qualification for Germany 2006, the Elephants have made huge progress and are now firmly established members of the African football elite. Their new-found status was confirmed when they qualified for South Africa 2010 with relative ease.
FIFA World Cup finals history
Côte d’Ivoire have never made it past the group stage of a FIFA World Cup finals, but it is perhaps worth pointing out that the draw has never been particularly kind to them. For their debut appearance in 2006, the Elephants shared Group C with Argentina, Netherlands and Serbia and Montenegro. They finished third in the pool, just as they did in South Africa four years later, when they were drawn alongside Brazil, Portugal and Korea DPR.
The current crop
Côte d’Ivoire are gradually establishing themselves as one of the most feared sides on the international scene with a vibrant team spirit and the addition of big names such as Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure and Gervinho. The main concern for the fans, however, is that this hugely gifted generation – the most talented in the country’s history – could pass into the history books without winning a single trophy. The Elephants were runners-up at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations in 2006, finished fourth in 2008 and reached the quarter-finals in 2010 and 2013. However, they have so far been unable to match the exploits of the Côte d’Ivoire side that won Africa’s premier competition back in 1992.
The key players
Côte d’Ivoire boast some of the greatest individual talents in Africa. Forwards Drogba and Salomon Kalou are a formidable front pair, while midfield duo Didier Zokora and Yaya Toure perform key ball-winning duties in the middle of the park. Explosive winger Gervinho supplies service from both flanks, with Emmanuel Eboue and Kolo Toure providing a wealth of experience at the back.
Coach: Sabri Lamouchi
Best performances in a FIFA competition: FIFA World Cup Germany 2006, South Africa 2010 (Group stages), FIFA U-17 World Cup Canada 1987 (Third place), FIFA Confederations Cup Saudi Arabia 1992 (Fourth place)
Former stars: Laurent Pokou, Youssouf Fofana, Joel Tiehi