Preview: An excellent warm-up ahead of Brazil 2014
The Elephants flopped at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. Four years later, they were keen to improve but it was never going to be easy to qualify into the knockout stages with Portugal and powerhouse Brazil completing the ‘Group of Death’. Not even the spirit of the African soil offered luck to the Ivoirians.
This time, the World Cup fiesta will take place on the land of the most successful footballing nation. During the draw last year, the West Africans fell into Group C with Colombia, Greece and Japan. Cote d’Ivoire stand a good chance of finally getting third time lucky.
Preview: No Chicharito and Yaya Toure
After conceding their Gold Cup title to USA this summer, the Mexicans have no choice but to pick themselves up and find consistency. The 2014 FIFA World Cup is not guaranteed. In a few weeks’ time, El Tri will face the fury of Honduras in a CONCACAF World Cup qualifier.
Confidence is lacking in Mexico’s camp. This explains why beating Cote d’Ivoire is a must. The last time De la Torre’s team faced an African nation was back in May – ahead of the Confederations Cup. The game ended 2-2 and was marked by a poor display. Javier Hernandez scored both goals.
On Wednesday night, the Manchester United forward will not play. He needs to recover from a sore right hamstring.
The biggest omission from this friendly match for the Ivoirians has to be Yaya Toure. The 2012 African Football of the Year is injured. However, in-form striker Didier Drogba has been called back to the national team. After dazzling on his return to Arsenal’s ground in the Emirates Cup, the ex-Chelsea man is expected to put in a good show for his country tonight.
Mexico vs Cote d’Ivoire will take place at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Where to watch the match – live stream, start time, TV channels
How Ivory Coast qualified from Group D
Ivory Coast, despite not playing at full strength yet, clearly imposed themselves as the best team in their section. Togo came close to creating an upset in both sides’ opening game but Yaya Toure’s combination with Gervinho proved too hot to handle.
Surprisingly, Tunisia gave the Elephants absolutely no contest. The latter banged three goals – Gervinho and Yaya Toure on target again. This saw the Ivoirians become the first AFCON 2013 quarter-finalists.
The last match against Algeria did not matter much but when Feghouli and Soudani scored second half goals, Didier Drogba and Wilfried Bony roared back with very late goals to redeem authority.
The Algerians can only feel sorry about their fate. Despite exhibiting great possessive football with one-twos and quick reaction on the ball in their first two AFCON 2013 matches, they now find themselves out of the competition.
Football is mostly about scoring and that is what Algeria failed to do against Tunisia and Togo respectively. Pride will be at stake against Ivory Coast.
As the first team to qualify for quarter-finals of the tournament, the Elephants have made good use of Yaya Toure and Gervinho’s influence. These two players are set to be given a rest by their manager against Algeria. Didier Drogba, who is yet to explode on stage in South Africa, might also support his team mates from the bench.
The Elephants did not impress the public against Togo but moments of brilliance from Gervinho and Yaya Toure made the difference.
Skipper Didier Drogba did not play the full match. The ageing striker will surely be targeted by Tunisia's defenders. Ivory Coast supporters will be hoping Drogba steps up to the challenge and opens his AFCON 2013 account with a goal.
The Tunisians do not possess mega stars. They would easily loose a contest against the Ivoirians on paper. However, the football on the pitch will decided matters on Saturday afternoon.
Both teams enter the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in good form. The Togolese will feel relieved to have Adebayor on their team sheet. The presence of the Tottenham Hotspur attacker was in doubt until the very final preparation moments.
The Sparrow Hawks have been accused of depending too much on Adebayor. The team will have the chance to retort to critics on Tuesday. In fact, it takes great composure to deny the Elephants of Ivory Coast from causing an earthquake. They are the overwhelming favourites to steal the AFCON 2013 trophy away from South Africa.
The Elephants quickly put themselves back together after dramatically losing to Zambia in the 2012 AFCON final. Ivory Coast are arguably the strongest side in Africa and their team sheet is the envy of many coaches.
The country is fortunate to have the likes of Yaya Toure, Didier Drogba and Gervinho present in the same generation. The one thing that is missing is an Africa Cup of Nations trophy. In December 2012, Didier Drogba exclusively told LiveSoccerTV.com that the title is not an obsession but his statement may only be a way to ease the pressure off Ivory Coast.
British Eurosport will broadcast LIVE high definition coverage of all 32 games from the 19th January – 10th February.
Ivory Coast will boast a star-studded line-up and will again be among the favourites for the title. Among them include their all-time top scorer Didier Drogba now of Shanghai Shenhua. Joining him up-front will be Arsenal’s Gervinho, as well as Wigan’s Arouna Kone. In the heart of the midfield will be Manchester City’s Yaya Toure and Newcastle United’s Cheick Tiote.
Ghana are likely to be one of the other stand-out performers, as they also possess players such as Al Ain forward Asamoah Gyan and Juventus midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah. Bristol City’s Albert Adomah will also be making his first appearance at the tournament.
“This night is so special for me,” Manchester City and Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure declared on the podium as he took his prize.
“Thank you to all of you. Even my captain [Didier Drogba] is here today. Thanks to everyone and we are happy for this award.”
Pundits had predicted a triumph for Champions League and FA Cup winner Didier Drogba. Despite the defeat, the former Chelsea striker looked upbeat all night. When asked if he was dissatisfied with his second-place finish, he responded:
“[Yaya Toure] has been very consistent since the past two years and even if I won the Champions League and the FA Cup, I didn’t really play during the first part of the season.
Didier Drogba – failure or hero?
For Didier Drogba, the year 2012 virtually ended in May at the Allianz Arena when his penalty kick sealed Chelsea’s mighty comeback victory over Bayern Munchen in the UEFA Champions League. That game alone rounded up a terrific and eventful season for the striker.
What happens far away in China, at Shanghai Shenhua, is of very little importance for the public now. Contractual issues have overshadowed his form on the pitch. His eight goals and two assists in 11 matches so far seem to sum up the general opinion in one line:
Ivory Coast vs Angola
With Sudan and Burkina Faso not having much to offer, this is the only match-up one can await with impatience. While Ivory Coast have proved that they can be very deadly in attack, Angola can also pride themselves with their unique way of protecting their goal line. It will be Group B’s last game, and with both countries presented with good opportunities to reach the quarter-finals, it is understandable that a draw will surely not do any good to either sides.
Favourites to qualify
Ivory Coast’s strength on paper is just too evident for anyone not to consider them as Group B favourites. With players such as CAF player of the Year Yaya Toure, Chelsea’s Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou and Arsenal playmaker Gervinho, the Ivorians will have no excuse available if ever they fail to top their table. Angola’s side is also very powerful defensively, and their sharp attack is anticipated to be the key that will unlock the door to Group B’s second place.
Cote d’Ivoire enter Africa’s festive football period, the Cup of Nations, as the continent’s highest-ranked country in the FIFA Rankings. The West African giants, nicknamed “Les Elephants”, are 16th above Switzerland and behind France.
The Ivoirians comfortably seat (with 151 points) above rivals and second-placed Ghana in the CAF section of the world’s chart. Will they, under the guidance of coach Francois Zahoui and captain Didier Drogba, make their authority count at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations?
The Elephants – Big size, big worries
Ivory Coast don’t have much to boast about in terms of Nations Cup history. Their only triumph dates from 1992. They qualified from their group above Congo and Algeria to reach the quarterfinals. At that stage, they met the Zambians whom they narrowly edged after extra time.
The 2012 Africa Cup of Nations will run from January 21 to February 12 this year. A total of 32 matches will take place in co-host countries Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
British Eurosport will provide live coverage of all the games. Viewers will have the chance to watch the 32 matches in high definition on Eurosport HD. More info concerning the tournament will be provided through Eurosport’s daily broadcast of the “Africa Cup of Nations Special”.
This program will include match previews and reviews packed in 15 minutes. Leroy Rosenior, Jon Roder, Tim Caple, Wayne Boyce and Dan O’Hagan will team up to give the best commentary to British Eurosport viewers during the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.
Brazil sit atop of the Group with 3 points after defeating the North Koreans by a 2-1 scoreline. All of Brazil and most soccer fans will be looking forward to seeing the magic of the samba squad face the Ivory Coast who are also favored over Portugal to advance to the next round.
The 8:30 PM Local Time Kick off or 2:30PM Eastern Standard Time, will bring the magic of the world cup into most North American's homes and establishments on Father's Day in the USA.
Watch Brazil vs Ivory Coast - World Cup 2010 Match Preview
Being the only leader of their group, the Brazilians are already laughing at everyone on their furious advance. Felipe Melo and Kaka blamed the passive role of the Koreans for their suffered triumph against a relatively easy rival. "This match will be different, for African teams are far more offensive. We'll do it better than ever" he said. Didier Drogba's heroic recovery from an injury in his arm on record time will spice up Sunday's hottest match at the Soccer City.
Didier Drogba - A champion in Chelsea
Drogba has gone under total success in England in his career, having won cups from the Premier League, the FA Cup, the Carling Cup, and even from the Community Shield. Though he has never won the Champions League, he is one of the best players on the island, and he faultlessly proved this undeniable fact in the 2009-10 season.
Drogba scored 29 league goals and made 10 assists in 32 appearances for the Blues, while he additional scored 3 goals and made 1 assists in the FA Cup, with 2 further goals in 2 games as a substitute in the Carling Cup. These statistics and facts are definitely some that confirm the Ivorian’s brilliant goalscoring abilities, but he still needs to do extra efforts for his country.
Which team will make through to the semi-finals of the 27th Africa Cup of Nations edition?
Angola vs Ghana – 2010 Africa Cup of Nations Match Preview
At 16:00 GMT, Angola and Ghana will affront each other as the first quarter-final clash of the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations finally takes place in Luanda.
Angola – the dream could go on
In terms of caliber and pedigree, Angola aren’t part of the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations’ favorites. But as the hosts of the competition, expectations on the Palancas Negras are obviously high.
Witnessing the national team clinching the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations trophy or reaching at least the semi-finals of the tournament is every Angolan’s dream.
However, it suggests the Palancas Negras to beat their opponents, Ghana, in the quarter-finals on Sunday, January 24th.