For the past decade, the Ivory Coast has been arguably the most talented team in Africa. However, they have consistently disappointed at major tournaments, and the 2014 World Cup is likely the chance for the Elephants to live up to expectations with this golden generation of players.
This Ivory Coast team has some concerns along the back four, but there is no shortage of attacking players that can put the ball in the back of the net, led by veteran Didier Drogba, With Drogba playing alongside the likes of Gervinho, Wilfried Bony, and Salomon Kalou, the Elephants have an imposing contingent of strikers. However, the midfield presence of Yaya Toure may be the biggest reason why the Ivory Coast has a chance to make a deep run in the World Cup, as he gives them a chance to control games in the middle of the field.
In its two previous World Cup appearances, the Ivory Coast has failed to advance to the Knockout Stage because of difficult group draws, being set aside by the Netherlands and Argentina in 2006, and then Brazil and Portugal in 2010. However, as a member of Group C this time around, the Elephants don’t have any world powers to contend with, as they’ll compete with Colombia, Japan, and Greece, making this a wide open group.
The Ivory Coast is the most talented team in Group C, and that will show, as they will end up winning the group. However, after winning the group, they will likely run into a world power in the Round of 16, most likely Italy or Uruguay, and that will be the end of the line for this great, but disappointing, generation of Elephants.
Group Stage Match One: Ivory Coast vs. Japan – Saturday, June 14, 9 p.m. EST on ESPN
Group Stage Match Two: Ivory Coast vs. Colombia – Thursday, June 19, 12 p.m. EST on ESPN
Group Stage Match Three: Ivory Coast vs. Greece – Tuesday, June 24, 4 p.m. EST on ESPN 2
Bryan Zarpentine is a New York Mets writer at RantSports.com. He also writes frequently about the NFL, College Football, College Basketball, and International Soccer. Like him on Facebook, follow him on twitter @BZarp and add him on Google.