RANKED by FIFA as the 21st best team in the world, splitting Croatia and Scotland, and priced at 150/1 for World Cup glory, Ivory Coast are not expected to rip up any trees in Brazil this summer.


Outright odds: 150/1

To win group: 7/2

To qualify: evens


Full squad: Boubacar Barry (Lokeren), Sylvain Gbohouo (Sewe Sport), Sayouba Mande (Stabaek), Jean-Daniel Akpa Akpro (Toulouse), Serge Aurier (Toulouse), Souleyman Bamba (Trabzonspor), Arthur Boka (VfB Stuttgart), Viera Diarrassouba (Caykur Rizespor), Constant Djakpa (Eintracht Frankfurt), Kolo Toure (Liverpool), Didier Zokora (Trabzonspor), Geoffroy Serey Die (Basel), Ismael Diomande (St Etienne), Max Gradel (St Etienne), Cheick Tiote (Newcastle United), Yaya Toure (Manchester City), Didier Ya Konan (Hannover 96), Mathis Bolly (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Wilfried Bony (Swansea City), Didier Drogba (Galatasaray), Gervinho (AS Roma), Salomon Kalou (Lille), Giovanni Sio (Basel).

Manager: Sabri Lamouchi

World Cup record: Group stage (2006, 2010)

How they qualified (most recent 1st): After entering the Confederation of African Football (CAF) World Cup qualification section at round two, Ivory Coast were drawn alongside Morocco, Tanzania and Gambia in Group C and they topped the table with 14 points. The Elephants won four of their six games, drawing twice with Morocco in the other two. They then faced Senegal in a third round play-off and recorded a 4-2 aggregate victory to seal their place at the World Cup finals.

v Senegal (away) 1-1 (HT 0-0) Kalou 90+4

v Senegal (home) 3-1 (HT 2-0) Drogba 3 Sane 14 Kalou 49

v Morocco (home) 1-1 (HT 0-0) Drogba 83

v Tanzania (away) 4-2 (HT 3-2) Traore 13 Y Toure 23, 43 Bony 90+3

v Gambia (away) 3-0 (HT 1-0) Traore 12 Bony 61 Y Toure 89

v Gambia (home) 3-0 (HT 0-0) Bony 51 Y Toure 57 Kalou 70

v Morocco (away) 2-2 (HT 1-1) Kalou 8 K Toure 60

v Tanzania (home) 2-0 (HT 1-0) Kalou 10 Drogba 7

Goalscorers: The Ivory Coast's goals were spread out quite evenly between their attacking players throughout the qualification campaign. Salomon Kalou led the way with five, with Yaya Toure contributing four from midfield and Wilfried Bony and Didier Drogba claiming three apiece.

The only other player to find the net more than once was the giant Lacina Traore, whose loan spell at Everton last season was ruined by injury and he has subsequently missed out on the squad.

Half-time/full-time: From their five victories during World Cup qualification, Ivory Coast were ahead at the break in four of them and drawing at half-time in the other. Their two draws with Morocco resulted from being level at half-time, as did the 1-1 draw with Senegal in the play-off.

Clean sheets: From the eight qualification matches, Ivory Coast kept just three clean sheets, two of which came at home, the other in a 3-0 away win against Gambia. They conceded one goal in their final three games, while letting in two in matches against Morocco and Tanzania.

Win to nil: Ivory Coast recorded three wins to nil - the only three games they managed to keep a clean sheet during qualification.

Cards: Counting reds as two, Ivory Coast's eight qualification games produced 31 cards in total at nearly 3.9 per game. Ivory Coast received 20 of those cards, all of which were yellows.

Other competitive internationals (most recent 1st): Ivory Coast bowed out in the quarter-finals of last year's Africa Cup of Nations, losing to eventual champions Nigeria having easily come through the group stage.

v Nigeria (neutral) 1-2 (HT 0-1) Tiote 50

v Algeria (neutral) 2-2 (HT 0-0) Drogba 77 Bony 81

v Tunisia (neutral) 3-0 (HT 1-0) Gervinho 21 Y Toure 87 Konan 90

v Togo (neutral) 2-1 (HT 1-1) Y Toure 8 Gervinho 88

Build-up (most recent first): Ivory Coast have played just two friendlies since drawing 1-1 with Senegal in the second leg of their play-off, registering a 2-2 draw against Belgium and last week being beaten by Bosnia in the US. Both games saw the Ivorians score late goals.

v Bosnia-Herzegovina (neutral) 1-2 (HT 0-1) Drogba 90+1

v Belgium (away) 2-2 (HT 0-1) Drogba 74 Gradel 90+2


Team verdict: Ranked by FIFA as the 21st best team in the world, splitting Croatia and Scotland, and priced at 150/1 for World Cup glory, Ivory Coast are not expected to rip up any trees in Brazil this summer.

However, they have a number of players with a wealth of experience in big-game environments and on the international stage, not least talismanic striker Didier Drogba.

The former Chelsea star may not cover as much ground as he used to but has still scored 15 goals in all competitions during his first season at Galatasaray and is likely to be used sparingly, with the in-form Swansea striker Wilfried Bony an exciting alternative in attack.

It's fair to say Ivory Coast have been dealt very difficult groups in their two previous appearances at World Cup finals and this year has offered them a more realistic opportunity to progress beyond the group stages. They didn't lose a game in qualifying and it's not hard to see them keeping that run going through Group C.