Established as one of Africa’s strongest nations, the Ivory Coast has flattered to deceive on the world stage. It is a country which has supplied so many outstanding individual players in recent years, but has never quite been the sum of its parts when the World Cup rolls around.

The Star

Didier Drogba. A bona fide superstar for more than a decade, the 2014 World Cup will be Drogba’s international swansong. He’s the captain, the record goal scorer and the inspiration for a new generation of African youngsters to follow in his highly impressive footsteps.

Fast Facts

  • World Cup Group: C
  • Nickname: The Elephants
  • Manager: Sabri Lamouchi
  • Captain: Didier Drogba
  • FIFA World Ranking: 23
  • Best World Cup Result: Group stages - 2006 & 2010
  • Qualification Method: Beat Senegal 4-2 on aggregate in African qualifying playoff

Road to Rio

Generally smooth sailing. The Ivorians won their initial group with an unbeaten six-match stand. In the World Cup qualifying playoff they survived some anxious moments in the decider against Senegal before finally winning out 4-2 on aggregate.

How they Fared in 2010

For the second straight World Cup, the Ivory Coast exited at the group stage. That said, the Elephants were drawn into demanding groups in both Germany and South Africa. In 2010, they tied Portugal before losing to Brazil. A final group win over North Korea proved academic. 

Fixtures

Group C

  • Saturday June 14 -- Ivory Coast vs. Japan, 9 p.m. ET
  • Thursday June 19 -- Colombia vs. Ivory Coast, Noon ET
  • Tuesday June 24 -- Greece vs. Ivory Coast, 4 p.m. ET.

Outlook

Third time lucky perhaps? The draw appears to have been a lot kinder to the Ivorians this time round and represents their best chance yet to advance to the knockout stages. If Drogba and Salomon Kalou can rekindle the partnership they enjoyed at Chelsea, the Elephants could be marching on into the round of 16.