Ivory Coast off to a slow start

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Ivory Coast and Portugal locked horns this Tuesday in what was already the final of this group G. With Brazil firm favourites, both squads had to win to keep their hopes of qualifying for the second round of the 2010 World Cup. In the end, it was a disappointing 0-0 goalless draw.

Ivory Coast-Portugal, the final chance for the golden generation to make a name for themselves. But for this crucial game, the Elephants would have to do without their one-man army, captain Didier Drogba.

Nonetheless, despite an 11th minute shot from Cristiano Ronaldo, the Elephants were never put in a dangerous situation. The Real Madrid man twinkled away from his man before smashing a 30-yarder that bobbed, swerved and dipped against the post. Barry was beaten all ends up. And… that was it. The rest of the game was played in the hands of a surprisingly offensive and well organised Ivory Coast side.

The Seleçcao was never threatening. Nor did Ivory Coast, come to think of it. Save from Gervinho’s little jink short after the beginning of the second half, Sven Goran Eriksson’s men, despite holding the ball, rarely tested Eduardo’s skills.

That was until the event everyone was waiting for occured. 65th minute: the vuvuzelas went mad as the crowd roar to welcome Didier Drogba. Unfortunately for the Ivory Coast fans, their captain and his plastered arm were unable to find the key to the Portugese deadlock.

Not with this Kolo Touré header (81th) that doesn’t trouble Eduardo, nor when Drogba, in injury time, show his skills with this cut through pass from Keita, followed by Drogba. Dindane can’t quite get on the end of the pass (91th).

A disciplined Ivory Coast managed to help Portugal, ranked number 3 by FIFA, to a goalless 0-0 draw, despite dominating throughout the game. A result that is both good and bad for both teams as they will have to take the best out of Brazil in order to book their seat for the second round.

2010 World Cup  South Africa's preparation to host the games on African soil for the first time but also individual African countries' determination to take part in the historic event. Five African countries - Cameroon, Nigeria, Algeria, South Africa and Ghana - are selected to join twenty seven teams from around the world to battle it out on the football pitch for the gold trophy. One by one, the African teams are eliminated, but Africans will not be bogged down as they rally behind their compatriots on the wings of the vuvuzela, a far cry from the near diplomatic row between Algeria and Egypt during the qualifiers. Ghana are the last team to leave but not before African unity becomes reality...
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