There were no miracles for Ivory Coast in Nelspruit as the west Africans were knocked out of the World Cup despite comfortably beating a defensively-frail North Korea.
The Elephants' hopes of progressing to the second round in South Africa always appeared slim as they needed to not only emphatically beat their opponents to make up an enormous goal deficit, but also hope that Portugal lost to Brazil in the other fixture in Group G.
Ivory Coast coach Sven-Goran Eriksson's men scored two early goals through Yaya Toure and Romaric but the eight-goal deluge that was most likely needed did not materialise, even though North Korea were more than obliging in defence - just as they had been during their 7-0 demolition by Portugal.
Salomon Kalou came off the bench to add a third goal but in the end the scoreline did not matter a jot as it was Portugal who progressed in second spot thanks to a goalless draw with group winners Brazil.
North Korea coach Kim Jong-hun had regarded this game as an opportunity for his team to restore some pride, but his players still seemed shell-shocked after conceding six goals in the second half against Portugal on Monday.
The Koreans granted Ivory Coast the freedom to surge forward at will and, in truth, Eriksson's men should have led by more than two goals at the break.
The Elephants started with intent as Toure's beautiful pass set the surging Kader Keita free in the box only for goalkeeper Ri-Myong-Guk's outstretched legs to prevent a goal in the opening minute.
Didier Drogba then had a header ruled out for offside, the Chelsea striker wagged his finger in protest but replays proved referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco was correct.
More chances were wasted - Gervinho being the prime culprit - before Toure finally gave Ivory Coast a deserved lead with a well-placed side-footed effort into the corner from the edge of the box.
A mere six minutes later and the Elephants doubled their advantage as the alert Romaric headed home Drogba's fierce volley, which had kindly rebounded off the crossbar.
The Elephants continued to trample over their opponents after the break but they also seemed determined to squander goalscoring opportunities.
Drogba, Ivory Coast's standard-bearer and all-time leading scorer, was the prime culprit as he headed wide from six yards and then failed to make contact with a perfect cross from Arthur Boka on the left. Gervinho and substitute Kalou were just as culpable.
North Korea defended a little more stoically in the second half and could have halved the deficit when Jong Tae-Se had the best opportunity of the match with Toure's brother Kolo blocking his goalbound effort.
Almost immediately, the Elephants whizzed up the field and the impressive Boka produced another fine cross from the left which Kalou side-footed in from six yards.
Substitute Aruna Dindane had an effort ruled out for offside in the closing stages but by then, as far as Ivory Coast's World Cup hopes were concerned, it was all a little irrelevant.
Attempts on target
Attempts off target
Projected table based on current scores
|Group A teams||P||W||D||L||F||A||GD||PTS|
|Group B teams||P||W||D||L||F||A||GD||PTS|
|Group C teams||P||W||D||L||F||A||GD||PTS|
|Group D teams||P||W||D||L||F||A||GD||PTS|
|Group E teams||P||W||D||L||F||A||GD||PTS|
|Group F teams||P||W||D||L||F||A||GD||PTS|
|Group G teams||P||W||D||L||F||A||GD||PTS|