Ivory Coast needs win ... and help
By Sports Network
vory Coast striker Kader Keita talks during a team press conference in Vanderbijlpark. (AFP PHOTO/ISSOUF SANOGO)
NELSPRUIT - North Korea and Ivory Coast square off in their final Group G match of the FIFA World Cup on Friday at Mbombela Stadium.
Ivory Coast needs to win by a large margin as well as get some help from Brazil to advance to the knockout round. Cote d'Ivoire needs the Brazilians to beat Portugal and help it make up the nine-goal differential advantage that Portugal has. Currently, Brazil is through with two wins, and only needs a tie against Portugal on Friday to clinch the group.
"It's going to be hard for us to qualify now because our fate's no longer in our hands," Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba said after his team lost to Brazil 3-1 in its last group match. "But I'm not sad, just a little disappointed.
"Our team has made progress since the last World Cup, but we could have been a bit more ambitious and tried to go for the game a bit more."
Ivory Coast put itself in this position after it earned a scoreless draw versus Portugal in the opener.
"It was a very tense match, but honestly I think that if one team was going to win it, it should have been us as we had more chances," Ivory Coast coach Sven Goran Eriksson said.
The Koreans are officially eliminated after falling to Portugal and Brazil in their first two matches by a combined 9-1 score, including a 7-0 shellacking at the hands of the Portuguese in their last match. But don't count on them to role over in their final match
"We did what we could to try and keep hold of the ball but the Portuguese were simply too good," Korea forward Jong Tae Se said. "That's why we conceded so many goals. We did what we could to drive the team forward and we put in a good performance in the first half, though their first goal hit us hard.
"I'm sure that our next game against Cote d'Ivoire will be a well-balanced match between two teams in the lower half of the standings. We've still got a chance to pick up our first three points and that's what we'll we trying to do."