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The Elephants need a goal-deluge to stay afloat

sports Updated: Jun 25, 2010 01:15 IST
Opheera McDoom

Ivory Coast will make one last desperate bid to win a place in the World Cup last 16 on Friday when they face a North Korea side hoping to salvage some national pride in Friday's Group G finale.

The West Africans are hoping for a miracle to get out of a tough group after Portugal whipped the Asian team 7-0, notching up an almost insurmountable goal difference that has left the Ivorians searching for divine intervention.

Ivory Coast must beat North Korea by a huge score and hope Brazil overcome Portugal in the other game in the group.

“If we remain in, it will be a great miracle,” said defender Arthur Boka. “Only God knows (if we can do it).”

The clash will pit the tournament's fairest team against one of the most physical. North Korea committed only three fouls in the heavy defeat by Portugal while Ivory Coast were penalised for 23 fouls in their match with Brazil.

North Korea's place at the finals has propelled the reclusive nation into the international spotlight and they started well with a brave 2-1 loss to Brazil.

Coach Kim Jong-hun has said he will adopt different tactics — probably strengthening his defence — for the game against the African team.

Already eliminated, North Korea are under no pressure to win but, with their rivals South Korea reaching the second round, they will be keen to at least earn a point and salvage some pride after the tournament's worst defeat.

“The only problem with the (North Korea) team is they have difficulty finishing,” said Boka, a problem he hopes will continue in Nelspruit.