Eriksson and Ivory Coast face tough road - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eriksson and Ivory Coast face tough road

17/06/2010 08:18:53 AM Comments (0)

The 2010 World Cup was set up as Sven-Goran Eriksson's personal revenge mission, and after Ivory Coast's opening draw against Portugal, he already has a measure of satisfaction.

Fate decided the Ivory Coast was drawn to face Portugal and Brazil in its opening two group games - the two nations that dumped Eriksson's England out of the past two World Cups in dramatic circumstances.

Ivory Coast drew with Portugal 0-0 on Tuesday - the same scoreline as England had against the Portuguese in the 2006 quarterfinals. But while Eriksson left that 2006 game crushed after a penalty shootout defeat, he wore a grin after Tuesday's encounter.

"We will enjoy today and we will see," Eriksson said before returning to his hotel to watch the Brazil-North Korea match on television.

"Today we met No. 3 (Portugal) in the FIFA rankings, next time it's No. 1."

That No.1 is Brazil, and Eriksson's first opportunity at a World Cup to avenge the 2-1 defeat that Brazil inflicted on England at the 2002 quarterfinals, thanks to Ronaldinho's famous long-range lob of England goalkeeper David Seaman.

However, Eriksson claims his personal revenge is not at the forefront of his mind.

"No, not at all," he said. "Four years ago we were a little unlucky and we could not put penalties in, but that's life. I do not think about that any more."

Having watched that Seaman gaffe first hand, Eriksson expressed sympathy for current England goalkeeper Robert Green, who similarly botched an easy save in England's 1-1 draw with the United States.

"England were unlucky," Eriksson said. "Robert Green was very unlucky and I felt very sorry for him because he must feel awful to do what he did."

Eriksson's Ivory Coast may be boosted for the clash against Brazil by the availability of Didier Drogba from the start. The Chelsea striker came on as a second-half substitute against Portugal despite breaking his arm just 11 days previously in a friendly.

Drogba, who wore a light cast against the Portuguese, was unsure if he could start against Brazil.

"Wow, it's going to be difficult," Drogba said. "But I will have three days to improve my condition."

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