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Ivory Coast came into the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations as overwhelming favourites to win their first title in 20 years.
The Ivorians boasted star names like current African Footballer of the Year YayaToure, his brother Kolo, Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou and Gervinho just to mention a few.
But their so called golden generation could only manage to match their runners-up position of 2006. This time they were second to Zambia.
Much of the Ivorians success in making it all the way to the final was largely due to their defence. Ironically, the Ivory Coast played a maximum of six matchesin the tournament, they never conceded a single goal but still returned home empty handed.
Gervinho was guilty of missing a handful of chances in the tournament, Drogba finished joint top goal scorer in the scoring charts but he will most likely be remembered for his two penalty misses, especially the one he squandered in the final.
The Elephants fell victim to critics who felt that coach Francios Zahoui opted for a more cautious approach, which emphasized defence rather than fully utilising the attacking prowess he had to work with.
The result would generally mean lights out to the careers of the senior members of the squad, but with the next tournament being just a year away in 2013, it might not seem so.
The Elephants from Côte dIvoire qualified for the 19th Africa Cup of Nations of their history after having won their six qualifying matches and ending up at the head of their group by a large margin.
Their sole continental victory was in 1992 in Senegal against Ghana, in an epic final which ended with a victory for the Elephants from11 penalties to 10, and the Ivoirians had to wait for 2006 to participate in their first World Cup final.
Under the impetus of the golden generation of Didier Drogba, Didier Zokora, Kolo Touré and others like Aruna Dindane, Côte dIvoire then embarked on the best years of its history.
Firstly they reached their second Africa Cup of Nations final in Egypt 2006, where they lost against the host nation, followed by a trip to Germany which sadly ended in elimination in the first round in a group also comprising of Argentina and the Netherlands.
But strengthened by talents which had been groomed and blossomed in Europes biggest clubs to assist the old guard, with the likes of Yaya Touré, Salomon Kalou, Emmanuel Eboué or Gervinho, Côte dIvoire qualified again for the first African World Cup organised by South Africa in 2010.
And there again the country had to leave the tournament prematurely, under pressure in one of the toughest groups comprising of Brazil and Portugal.
The Elephants were however able to bounce back with a clean sheet in the CAN 2012 qualifiers, and are now one of the big favourites of the competition which kicks off at the end of January in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
The first African country on the FIFA rankings lying in 19th position, Côte dIvoire played their first official match against Benin (then Dahomey) on 13 April 1960.
|Zambia||0 - 0||Cote d'Ivoire||12 Feb 12||Stade d'Angondjé|
|Mali||0 - 1||Cote d'Ivoire||08 Feb 12||Stade d'Angondjé|
|Cote d'Ivoire||3 - 0||Equatorial Guinea||04 Feb 12||Nuevo Estadio de Malabo|
|Click here for Standings||Click here to see the full table|
|2012 AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS TEAM RECORD|
|LAST 10 HOME:||6||2||3||1||9||7||2||1||0||9|
|LAST 10 AWAY:||4||0||2||2||2||4||0||2||0||2|