Ivory Coast convincingly beat
North Korea 3-0 on Friday, but the win, which could easily have
been by a larger margin, was still not enough to prevent the
Africans from going out of the World Cup.
Portugal and Brazil's 0-0 draw in
the other final Group G
match ensured they both qualified for the last 16, rendering the
Ivorian result meaningless. North Korea, who lost all three of
their games, had already been eliminated.
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Despite their exit, Ivory Coast
coach Sven-Goran Eriksson
said he was pleased with his side's performance in what had
always looked like one of the tournament's hardest groups.
"They should be very proud of
themselves and the country
should be very proud of them," he told reporters.
"It's a good team and I think the
future belongs to this
country ... absolutely. The future for this country,
football-wise, is great."
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The Ivorians had needed to score a glut of goals to give
themselves any chance of overhauling Portugal after their
earlier 7-0 win over North Korea.
"If we were a little bit more calm
maybe we could have
scored more goals," said striker Didier Drogba,
"Our world cup is over today but
we can be proud of what we
did against Portugal and what we did against Brazil and today.
We are disappointed but we can't be too disappointed when you
are in a group like this with Portugal and Brazil."
He also saw good times ahead for
his nation's team.
country like Ivory Coast to be in the world cup twice
in a row is something fantastic. We were unlucky but at the same
time we are happy," he said.
Needing plenty of goals, Ivory Coast left Salomon Kalou on
the bench and opted for a three-pronged attack of Drogba,
Gervais Kouassi and Abdelkader Keita.
North Korea coach Kim Jong-hun
kept faith with the same
starting 11 that were ruthlessly dismantled by Portugal.
Goals from Yaya Toure and Ndri
Romaric gave the Ivorians a
2-0 half time lead, but it could have been five or six as North
Korea struggled to cope with the one-way traffic heading towards
Ri Myong-guk was
forced into action right from the kickoff,
making a smart save from Keita, but there would be no respite
for the North Korean goalkeeper as Ivory Coast flooded forwarded
at every opportunity.
Ivorians went ahead in the 14th minute Toure took a pass
on the edge of the area before opening up his body and curling
the ball into the far corner of the net.
Romaric struck the outside of the
post four minutes later
but was on hand to nod the ball home after Drogba crashed a
vicious shot off the underside of the crossbar in the 20th
North Korea's first
and only chance of the first half came
in the 25th minute when captain Hong Yong-jo stroked a freekick
just wide of Boubacar Barry's goal.
The west Africans picked up where
the left off in the second
half, Drogba sending a diving header wide and Kouassi failing to
connect with Keita's dangerous delivery, but North Korea looked
far more organised in defence.
Jong Tae-se almost pulled one back
for North Korea in the
81st minute but he could not force the ball over the line.
Instead, Ivory Coast notched up a
third when Kalou, on as a
substitute, side footed home from close range in the 82nd minute
after a great cross from Arthur Boka.
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