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Soccer preview: Cote d'Ivoire aspires for place in quarterfinals
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10:14, August 12, 2008

Cote d'Ivoire is eager to beat Australia on Wednesday to advance into the quarterfinals of the Olympic men's soccer tournament.

The young Elephants, with three points from their first two matches, need another three points to ensure them a place in the knockout stage while the Australians, with one point now, will qualify only if they beat Cote d'Ivoire and Serbia fails to beat Argentina in the final round of Group A.

"We hope to go to the second round," Cote d'Ivoire head coach Gerard Gili said. "We have good players, this is important."

Midfielder Kafoumba Coulibaly said: "We trained a lot to prepare for this match. Our goal is to go to the second round and to the final."

Despite the absence of some big names like Arsenal's Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Eboue, Tottenham Hotspur's Didier Zokora and Chelsea's Didier Drogba, the young Elephants have proved that they could compete with any opponents at the Olympic tournament.

Forward Salomon Kalou said: "This is the first time for Cote d'lvoire to compete in the Olympic Games. You know the first game is always the most difficult. Now we are accustomed to the situation here, and we are getting better."

Talking about the team's basic concept of football, Gili said: "We play with quality. African players are physically strong and technical. All the team play together."

On the Australia side, forward Archie Thompson said: "We have to win the last game. If we don't, we will go out of the tournament."

However, Thompson and anther key player Ruben Zadkovich may miss the match for injury.

"Archie Thompson has got an injury to his foot and Ruben Zadkovich has a thigh problem," said head coach Graham Arnold.


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