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Preview: Ivory Coast v Serbia & Montenegro

Forget about 'consolation matches', as far as Ivory Coast and Serbia & Montenegro are concerned, they want to go home with a win from the final match of the tournament for their countries in Munich on Wednesday.

Last Modified: 20 Jun 2006 22:25 GMT
Time's up: Ivory Coast coach Henri Michel

Forget about 'consolation matches', as far as Ivory Coast and Serbia & Montenegro are concerned, they want to go home with a win from the final match of the tournament for their countries in Munich on Wednesday.

The match in the southern capital may also be the final time both coaches are in charge of their respective teams, with Ivory Coast’s Henri Michel and Serbia & Montenegro’s Ilija Petkovic both uncertain about their managerial futures.

"My contract is up at the end of the World Cup," said Michel.

"As the federation has not yet asked me if I want to continue, I assume that I will take charge of them for the last time in the final group match against Serbia and Montenegro on Wednesday," he added.

Michel was also scathing of his own team’s results, even though many football pundits have noted that the Ivorians have played quite well without winning.

"Everyone tells me this team plays great football. What's more important is the result. And the result was not good. We're out and that's the bottom line," the disgruntled Frenchman said.

In truth, the Elephants have played well in a tough group and had they perhaps been amongst company other than the likes of Argentina and the Netherlands, they may have gone further in this tournament.

The Africans will however be without influential striker Didier Drogba through suspension, while Serbia & Montenegro will also be without a key forward Mateja Kezman who is also on the sidelines due to his red card.

Laughing behind his back: Ilija
Petkovic set to step down as coach

For the Balkan side, their coach has already announced he will not be renewing his contract once the match in Munich is over, the 6-0 loss to Argentina pushing Petkovic over the edge.

The Serbia & Montenegrins, who will play their last World Cup Finals match as a unified nation, have been plagued by injury throughout the tournament and after a positive qualification series the main event has not been pretty.

The reception back home will be an icy one for the Serbs, as outlined by Basel midfielder Ivan Ergic.

"To lose 6-0 is horrible, but we were not completely fit and we have had a lot of pressure put on us  by the press and the media back home."

With big expectations on both teams going into the tournament, at least some of the disappointment of an early exit will be quashed with a win in Munich on Wednesday.

Source:
Aljazeera
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