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Elephants Dominate Play in Final World Cup Game

Published on Saturday 26th June 2010 Elephants Dominate Play in Final World Cup Game

Cote d'Ivoire had 27 shots on goal in their victory over North Korea in Nelspruit on Friday, but even if they had buried them all they would not have qualified for the second round of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

They did win the Group G match 3-0, but the dour draw between Brazil and Portugal in Durban ensured that those two teams advanced from the pool, and left Ghana as Africa's only representative in the Last 16.

The Ivorians started like a freight train, and might have been 5-0 up inside the first 20 minutes were it not for poor finishing and the woodwork.

Kader Keita had a shot saved by Korean goalkeeper Ri Myong Guk inside the first minute, while Didier Drogba had the ball in the back of the net with a header, but the effort was ruled out for offside.

The Elephants were ahead on 14 minutes as Yaya Toure placed a shot from the edge of the area into the bottom corner, a clinical finish that left Myong Guk with no chance.

Romaric hit the post soon afterwards as the West African side began to tear their Asian opponents to pieces. The second goal duly arrived on 19 minutes as Drogba displayed excellent skill to pull a high ball down, turn and fire on goal. The effort hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced out, only for Romaric to head home the rebound.

Gervonho hit the post again seven minutes before halftime when he should have scored, and despite them dominating the game, it was only 2-0 at the break for Sven-Goran Eriksson's men.

The Ivorians found the going tougher at the start of the second period as they struggled to create clear-cut chances, and they could add just one more goal to their tally.

Substitute Salomon Kalou converted Arthur Boka's cross with a volley from close range that put the icing on the cake for the win, but not enough to take them through to the second round.

The Elephants had their chances when they held Portugal to a 0-0 draw in their opening match of the tournament, and perhaps that was the key game for them. But they ended their South African safari with a dominant win, though for Drogba, who has already said this will be his last major finals, it is a bitter disappointment.

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