GROUP C
IVORY COAST

THE 60-SECOND OVERVIEW

Playing in their third consecutive World Cup, this Ivory Coast golden generation will be looking to use the experience they have accumulated at previous tournaments to progress into the knockout stages for the first time.

An open-all-hours defence threatens an early exit but in Yaya Toure, Gervinho, Didier Drogba and Wilfried Bony, they have one of the most dynamic and potent attacking forces on show in Brazil.

THE DREAM

Make a mark. In what will be the last World Cup for many squad members, they will be looking to scribble their names into global folklore. Bowing out in the last 16 would be satisfactory, but the quarter-finals is the true goal.

If they do that, they’ll join Cameroon in 1990, Senegal in 2002 and Ghana in 2010 as the African sides that have progressed farthest at the World Cup, and can look to go one further. The ageing squad may even win a reprieve and be given one last bite at winning the Africa Cup of Nations – a gong that has painfully eluded them – in Morocco next January.

THE NIGHTMARE

One potential 'mare has already been avoided: for the first time in three World Cups, they’ve dodged the Group of Death. That said, an early exit, particularly with poor performances, and even those that are not ready to retire yet, like Yaya Toure, may decide they’ve had enough psychological scarring and knock it on the head before next year’s Africa Cup of Nations.

If they don’t, then it’d certainly give the coach a dilemma on whether to pick them – and perhaps prompt a squad overhaul which will be delicate and painful for this tight-knit squad.

THE STATS
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PLAYER MOST LIKELY TO...

GET TWO YELLOW CARDS IN A MINUTE: SEREY DIE

Always possible for the aggressive midfielder. Uli Stielike, his coach at FC Sion, once lamented that Die was “insane” after he received four red cards in a single season.

PLAYER MOST LIKELY TO...

SING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM WITH A MICROPHONE: ARTHUR BOKA

His team-mates unanimously agree that the pint-sized VfB Stuttgart left-back is the best singer in the team. What better stage to showcase his vocal talents?

PLAYER MOST LIKELY TO...

MAKE YOU BLINK AND DOUBLE-TAKE: GERVINHO

A figure of fun at Arsenal, a figure of worship at Roma. He heads into the World Cup as one of the world’s most menacing wingers after a scintillating debut season with the Giallorossi.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Elephant Mother’s Club – the mums of the players at the TEAM's core – regularly meet up for a mighty feast and good times. Absentees must excuse themselves.

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Brilliant attack + porous defence + last-chance Golden Generation = entertaining attempt at going deep into the tournament.