Having Sven-Goran Eriksson in charge at a World Cup normally guarantees a quarter-final spot, but one glance at the opponents his Ivory Coast side will face in Group G means that assumption looks more than a little foolhardy. To find yourself in a "Group of Death" once is unlucky, to find yourself in there twice in four years is plain unfortunate. The luckless Elephants were paired with Argentina, the Netherlands and Serbia and Montenegro at their World Cup bow in 2006, so you can imagine how a nation's heart sank all over again when they were presented with Brazil and Portugal at December's draw - although the lesser-known quantity of North Korea may offer some hope.
The Ivory Coast are blessed with a phenomenal array of European-based talent, but accusations are often levelled at the likes of Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou that club comes before country. So, with Eriksson hardly renowned for ruling with a rod of iron, there are fears player power could again be their undoing. The Swede has had barely had any time to work with his squad and met many of them for the very first time when they arrived at a training camp on 24 May - not the sort of preparation you need when preparing for the might of Brazil and Portugal.
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