IT IS almost impossible to think of Ivory Coast without conjuring up an image of Didier Drogba – prolific, powerful and petulant in equal measure – but the Elephants will need more than individual brilliance from the Chelsea forward to propel them to glory in South Africa.
The Ivorians cruised through their qualifying group and have finished second and fourth respectively in the last two Africa Cup of Nations tournaments.
However, the World Cup represents a major step up, as the West African nation discovered in Germany in 2006 when they were grouped with Argentina and the Netherlands, both of whom beat them 2-1.
They would be very unlucky to find themselves in a similar pickle next summer.
In Manchester City's Kolo Toure, 28, and Arsenal's Emmanuel Eboue, 26, the Elephants have at least two defenders who can hold their own in what is currently considered the world's best league while in midfield, Barcelona’s Yaya Toure, 26, is likely to be the midfield anchor, potentially playing alongside Sevilla team-mates Christian Koffi Ndri Romaric, 26, and Didier Zokora, 28.
Up front, Feyenoord's Sekou Cisse or Chelsea's Salomon Kalou could partner Drogba, 31 as the Ele- phants look to continue their freescoring form.
The Star: Prolific powerhouse Didier Drogba (right) – Ivory Coast's all-time leading goalscorer with 41 goals in 60 appearances - at 31 may see South Africa as his last World Cup appearance. Opposition fans love to hate him – both for his goals and his histrionics.