26 June 2010

North Korea - CIV 0-3

elspruit: The Curtain came down on DPR Korea’s 2010 FIFA World Cup campaign on Friday with a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Cote d’Ivoire, consigning the Chollima to a hat-trick of Group G loses.

The North Koreans’ chances of advancing from the group stage ended with a 7-0 drubbing by Portugal leaving Sven-Goran Eriksson’s side chasing down a seemingly impossible nine goals to nudge the Portuguese out of the last 16.

However, any margin over victory wouldn't have made a difference in the end as Portugal drew 0-0 with Brazil to finish a point ahead of the 'Elephants'.

Cote d’Ivoire joined hosts South Africa, Cameroon, Nigeria and Algeria as first-round casualties with only Ghana carrying on the African cause in the knockout round.

Barcelona playmaker Yaya Toure struck first in the 14th minute, drilling home from outside the area off a cut-back from Kader Keita.

The Elephants went two-up on 20 minutes after Chelsea superstar Didier Drogba rattled the crossbar with a fierce volley and left midfielder Romaric with an easy header into an unguarded net.

Drogba’s Chelsea team-mate Salomon Kalou, a second-half substitute, found the net in the 82nd minute, tucking away a high ball from defender Arthur Boka.

Cote d’Ivoire were looking for a mammoth win over the North Koreans and relying on group leaders Brazil to beat the Portuguese in Durban for them to have an outside prospect of reaching the knockout round.

Drogba, in imperious form, headed the ball into the net in the 12th minute but was ruled offside as Ivory Coast bombarded the North Korean goal.

The Ivorians' play fell away in the second half as the Kim Jong-hun’s side tightened their five-man defence, screened by three midfielders.

Eriksson made a double substitution in the 64th minute bringing on Kalou for Keita and Aruna Dindane for Gervinho as he juggled his attack to prise more goals and Kalou dutifully answered the Swedish coach's call.

North Korea's Japanese-based striker Jong Tae-se didn't look out of place with the skilful Ivorians and he tested their defence with speed and close control several times.

Jong had a great chance in the 81st minute and only a diving block from Manchester City defender Kolo Toure - brother of Yaya - stopped him from scoring.

The match was played in good spirit with Spanish referee Alberto Undiano not once brandishing the yellow card.


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