Cote d'Ivoire has a slim chance to qualify for the knockout stage, chances so slim that they will need to find other motivation for today's match with North Korea. To advance, Les Elephants would need to win, have Portugal lose and see a gap of nine in goal difference turned around.
That won't happen. Cote d'Ivoire needs to shift focus, which could entail making a difficult decision regarding their star player.
Cote d'Ivoire, Going Forward: It all depends on whether Didier Drogba plays, which he shouldn't. The guy has a broken arm. It's one thing to play him when the team is still alive to advance, in what might be his final World Cup. It's another thing when the match can't get you into the knockout round. Sven-Göran Eriksson needs to keep Drogba out.
If Drogba sits, Cote d'Ivoire likely starts the same team we saw against Portugal, where an attacking three of Salomon Kalou, Aruna Dindane and Gervinho offered little penalty area presence for the crosses put in by the likes of Ismael Tioté.
Against a back line of North Korea that plays wider, having five men in defense, it will be more difficult for the Ivorians to get their crosses in.
North Korea, Going Forward: The North Koreans should be able to generate counter attacking opportunities against Cote d'Ivoire, but with the possible exception of Kolo Touré, the Ivorian personnel sets-up well to handle those attacks. Yaya Touré will be the first line of defense, in a defensive midfield position. Didier Zokora, normally a defensive midfielder, has the mobility in central defense to keep up with the attacks, while Siaka Tiéné and Guy Demel are strong on at the wide positions.
North Korea is not restricted to counter attacks for their goal opportunities; however, having very little possession of the ball. the North Korean usually do not have many chances to build-up play.
How The Match Turns: North Korea could use this match as a way to reestablish a presence in the international footballing world. Their qualification for this tournament was viewed as a oddity, and although they played well against Brazil, the nation has still not won a World Cup match in 44 years. They will be more motivated than the Ivorians, and in a match that would have been close regardless, that motivation could be decisive.