Ivory Coast have qualified for their third World Cup in the country’s history, but never surpassed the group stages. Can they finally stop this record and reach the last-16 in Brazil?
In our new Then And Now feature Soccer Laduma compares the performances of football’s greatest at the 2010 World Cup to what we can expect from in Brazil.
In 2010 Drogba inspired Chelsea to the Premier League title, scoring 29 goals to win the Golden Boot ahead of Wayne Rooney (26).
Drogba also scored the only goal in the 2010 FA Cup final against Portsmouth, keeping up his record of scoring in all six English cup finals (FA Cup and League Cup) in which had played until that then.
Chelsea didn’t play a major role in the Champions League but Drogba finished the season with 37 goals in 41 games in all competitions for the Blues.
Following his brilliant campaign at Chelsea, Drogba and Ivory Coast were one of the dark horses for the 2010 World Cup, but had been drawn with Brazil, Portugal and North Korea.
After a goalless draw against Portugal and a 3-1 defeat to Brazil – Drogba scored the goal for his country – the final 3-0 against North Korea wasn’t enough to go through to the next stage.
In the 2012 FA Cup final, Drogba became the first player to score in four different FA Cup finals, as he netted the winner in Chelsea’s 2-1 triumph over Liverpool.
Drogba’s Chelsea career then ended with one of his best games for the Blues. In the 2012 Champions League final he first equalized for his side against Bayern Munich and then converted the final penalty to win Chelsea’s first Champions League trophy in the club’s history.
The 36-year-old then moved to Shanghai Shenhua in China, but after only six months he returned to Europe and joined Galatasaray after he had not been paid by the Chinese side.
With Galatasary he won the Turkish Super Lig last season as well as the 2013 Super Cup – another cup final where he scored the only goal against Fenerbahce.
Following a World Cup qualifying campaign without defeat, Ivory Coast again qualified for the 2014 World Cup, which is likely Drogba’s last chance to shine on international stage.
Ivory Coast have been drawn in a group with Japan, Colombia and Greece, which might sound easy, but will be quite tricky to surpass. But stars like Yaya and Kolo Toure, Didier Zokora and goalkeeper Bakary Barry have all surpassed the 30-year age border and perhaps Ivory Coast can benefit from their experience.
Drogba has scored 63 goals in 99 games for his country and Ivory Coast will need Drogba to be at his best to finally survive the group stages at the World Cup in Brazil.
What do you make of Ivory Coast’s chances at World Cup in Brazil? Have your say in the comment section below.