For the third consecutive time since 2006, Cote D’Ivoire will make an appearance at the Fifa World Cup tournament. The Ivorian national team, the Elephants, will represent the French-speaking West African nation ranked 1st in Africa and 21st in the world according to the Fifa Coca-Cola Rankings. The highest ranking ever for the team was 12th in 2013.
Cote D’Ivoire FIFA World Cup
The Federation of Ivorienne de Football controls the team. The national team currently boasts of a high number of international players with impressive players such as Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou, Gervinho, and the Toure brothers. Yaya Toure, the current African Best Football Player is a national. Emmanuel Eboue was recently eliminated from the shortlisted squad of 28. Having put together what is being touted as their best squad, it is being said that the Elephants are in with their biggest chance to go further than they’ve ever been in World Cup history.
Ivory Coast played their first international match in 1960 in Madagascar, winning against Dahomey. They have played a record twenty times in the African Cup of Nations but have only won once. In 1992, the Ivorian national team won a high 24-shot penalty shoot-out against Ghana, winning by 11-10.
The Ivorians are known for their orange kit but occasionally spot the green jersey as well.
In 2006, Cote D’Ivoire qualified for the World Cup by emerging first in a qualifying group consisting of Cameroon, Egypt, and Sudan. This resulted in a temporary peace treaty in the country during the First Ivorian Civil War.
At their debut in the Germany 2006 Fifa World Cup tournament, the Elephants were sadly placed in a rather difficult group with Argentina, the Netherlands, and Serbia, and Montenegro. They placed third in the group after losing to both the Netherlands and Argentina by 2-1. They however scored 3-2 in their final World Cup match against Serbia and Montenegro.
In the South Africa 2010 Fifa World Cup, they were again placed in a ‘group of death’ this time with Brazil, Portugal, and Korea. They managed a win against Korea DPR, a goalless draw against Portugal but lost 3-0 to Brazil. Again they finished third, barely ahead of Korea DPR.
The Elephants are considered the best African football nation, statistically, but Cote D’Ivoire has never made it past the group stages. They have competed in other international tournaments including the Confederations Cup and the Toulon Tournament, an under-21 championship, which they won in 2010
Cote D’Ivoire had an easy qualifying group for the Brazil 2014 Fifa World Cup championships, winning four out of the six matches they played. In the playoffs, however, they had a bit of a task but eventually, beat Senegal and long-time rivals Morocco.
The Elephants are in Group C with Colombia, Greece, and Japan, arguably the most favorable group they have ever been placed in. With captain Didier Drogba and coach Sabri Lamouchi, the sky is the limit for the African giants.
Cote D’Ivoire will play its first match against Japan on the 14th of June at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil.