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Ivory Coast win convincingly but go out

By on June 26, 2010

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.

Despite their exit, Ivory Coast coach Sven-Goran Eriksson said he was pleased with his side’s performance.

“We scored three goals, with a clean sheet once again,” he said. “We were in a difficult group. I think we did well, I think the players should be proud of themselves.”

Needing a glut of goals to stand any chance of advancing, Ivory Coast left Salomon Kalou on the bench and opted for a three-pronged attack of Didier Drogba, Gervais Kouassi and Abdelkader Keita.

North Korea coach Kim Jong-hun kept faith with the same starting 11 that were ruthlessly dismantled 7-0 by Portugal in the previous game.

Goals from Yaya Toure and Ndri Romaric gave the Ivorians a 2-0 halftime lead, but it could have been five or six as North Korea struggled to cope with the one-way traffic heading towards their net.

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.

Drogba looked in the mood from the outset and had the ball in the net in the 11th minute but his header was disallowed for offside.

The Ivorians would not have long to wait though and 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 minute.

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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