Cote d’lvoire, along with Nigeria, were the only African side to go through qualifying undefeated. They won their group before seeing off a stubborn Senegal side by 4-2 on aggregate in the play-offs. The final minutes were nervy as they mission to Brazil.

While there is acknowledgement that the teams in Group C will give Les Elephants a stern test in various departments, the Ivorian public expects to progress to the knockout stages at least. After all, having been placed in the dreaded ‘group of death’ in the previous two tournaments, they have finally dodged the heavyweights. “We want to progress from the group stage, and perhaps go further,” said Coach Sabri Lamouchi.”I think it’s a sweet and inspiring group for us.”

The core of the side, most of whom had their formative football education at the famed academy of ASEC Mimosas, the country’s most successful club, have played together for more than a decade. Their familiarity can result in some sumptuous football, with the culmination being an irresistible fusion of physically and technical ability in the 4-3-3 system Lamouchi deploys. Yaya Toure is the key man and the protagonist of that aforementioned style, but the aura of Captain Didier Drogba and the trickery of Gervinho cannot be discounted.

COACH>>

SABRI LAMOUCHI

The former France international was appointed in May 2012 despite having no previous experience as senior head coach. However, he has steadily won the backing of the public and players with good performances and astute man-management. He played as EURO ’96 and won the French league with AJ Auxerre and AS Monaco FC

Fixtures Group C

Japan
Recife 16 June 2014

Colombia
Brasilia 20 June 2014

Greece
Fortaleza 25 June 2014

*Dates are AEST

Tournament history
Previous tournaments: 2

2010 FIFA World Cup performance
Group stage

Best performance
Group stahe,, 2006, 2010

How they qualified
Winners, African Group C
Beat Senegal in play-offs