Ivory Coast 0 : Portugal 0

Copyright Luca Sage 2010

Thousands gathered at the the Forum at the University of Cocody in Abidjan to watch Ivory Coast’s first match on a big screen. Despite the goal-less scoreline, the atmosphere was electric – near misses, camera shots of Drogba warming-up and the entrance of super-sub Kader Keita caused an explosion of noise.

The result was satisfying although of course a nicked goal would have been extremely valuable. The team looked solid and played as a unit far more effectively than they did under the previous coach. Job well done for Sven Goran Eriksson then. The defensive pairing of Zokora and Kolo didn’t seem too threatened, while upfront Gervinho looked capable of producing a goal against lesser opposition. Dindane and Kalou made a few heavy touches, but this may have been the result of more general problems other teams have also been experiencing with the Jublani ball and pitch.

So, the group remains open. The last match against North Korea won’t be the walkover we may have assumed and a favourable result against Brazil would be a real asset.

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