Manager: Sven-Göran Eriksson
Best: Round one (2006)
The Ivory Coast must be wondering what they've done to annoy the gods of football. The tremendously talented Elephantes wound up in a Group of Death in 2006, failing to qualify against Argentina and Holland. Four years on, they'll have to overcome either Brazil or Portugal to go through to the second round.
But if they can make it to the knockout stage, don't bet against them going far, particularly because they can count on enthusiastic home-crowd support as fellow Africans. Led by Didier Drogba providing the firepower up front along with his Chelsea teammate Salomon Kalou, the Ivoirians will rely on Spain-based midfielders Didier Zokora and Yaya Toure to win the ball in midfield, while former Arsenal teammates Emmanuel Eboue and Kolo Toure (brother of Yaya) repel opposition attacks. Newly installed coach Sven-Göran Eriksson has a team arguably as talented as the England side he took to the last eight in 2008. Going that far must be the minimum hope for Sven's men in South Africa.
Player to watch: The recent African Cup of Nations inspired Didier Drogba to recapture his fearsome form of recent years. His passion, drive and sheer ability could carry Les Elephants far.