Côte d’Ivoire pray for big goal haul

Côte d’Ivoire need to score a hatful of goals against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to have any chance of reaching the World Cup second round although coach Sven-Goran Eriksson warned they could not attack with abandon.

“We’re going to try to attack — absolutely,” Eriksson told reporters on the eve of their final group match. “You can’t really just attack with everything you have because if you see North Korea … they will punish you if you do that.”

The Swede said striker Didier Drogba would again lead the team though he would bring in some fresh faces and keep a close eye on the Portugal-Brazil match as they play out the finale of what is probably the toughest group.

After a goalless draw with Portugal and 3-1 defeat by Group G favourites Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire players looked on in horror as Portugal battered underdogs Democratic People’s Republic of Korea 7-0 leaving the Africans’ hopes slipping away as the goals piled up.

They need a miracle to qualify with a nine-goal swing required to repair their languishing goal difference and must also hope already-qualified Brazil beat Portugal. But Eriksson said he would not put undue pressure on his team.

“You can’t really go and tell your players to go out and score, well, [the] eight or nine we must score if Brazil wins 1-0, because that’s not realistic,” he said.

Eriksson added he would start African Footballer of the Year Drogba because he was essential to their attack, but said the West Africans must also defend well against the Asian side.

“We’re going to make some changes in the team — not a revolution because there is no need … but I’m going to give a chance to a couple of others from the beginning.”

Eriksson said he had previously travelled to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and offered advice to their current coach Kim Jong-hun and other soccer officials, a move he may regret on Friday.

“It’s strange that tomorrow they are opponents,” he said, laughing. – Reuters

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