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Toure backs Ivory Coast for good World Cup

Ivory Coast defender Kolo Toure believes his side's progress to the African Nations Cup final proves they will also be a force at the World Cup finals later this year despite qualifying for the first time.

india Updated: Feb 08, 2006 13:09 IST
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Ivory Coast defender Kolo Toure believes his side's progress to the African Nations Cup final proves they will also be a force at the World Cup finals later this year despite qualifying for the first time.

"We wanted to show that we are going to the World Cup, that we have a good team and that we deserve to be there," the Arsenal back told reporters.

"By getting to the final, I think we have shown to our continent that we are going to represent them well at the World Cup finals.

"We have sent our strong message for Germany later this year," added Toure, who was one of his country's better players in their 1-0 semi-final victory over Nigeria on Tuesday.

"This is our first big tournament together and we have a young side with average age of around 25. It has been fantastic for all of us to get this experience.

"Playing in the final will be great,it willbe the first final for many of the players."

Ivory Coast face Egypt in Cairo on Friday, after the hosts qualified for the final with a controversial 2-1 victory over Senegal.

Toure also paid tribute to the influence of captain Didier Drogba, whose goal settled the outcome of the match.

"He's a great striker and importantly he's scoring goals." Toure said of the Chelsea forward.

"Drogba lifts the team. But all the team played well, we mustn't forget that. We have been getting stronger."

Drogba's goal was his third of the tournament and his presence has helped the Ivorians to become the only of Africa's five World Cup representatives to make an impact at the finals.

Tunisia were eliminated in the quarter-finals while Angola, Ghana and Togo failed to make it past the first round group stage.

The Ivorians have a tough group at the World Cup finals in Germany, having being drawn against the Netherlands, Serbia and Montenegro and Argentina.

First Published: Feb 08, 2006 13:09 IST