#WCQ: Mali 0-0 Côte d’Ivoire – FT; Ivorians face World Cup exit after Mali draw (See Group Standing)

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The Ivory Coast are in the middle of a year to forget, and their draw against Mali in Bamako on Friday suggests that things are set to get worse before they get better.

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At the halfway stage of the World Cup qualifying campaign, the Elephants sat two points clear of Morocco at the top of Group C, with two home games and an away game against the Eagles—recently smashed 6-0 by Herve Renard’s side—to play.

Marc Wilmots had masterminded a 3-0 victory away at Gabon in one of the finest displays of any African side—perhaps third behind only Uganda and Nigeria—to help banish some of the miserable memories that had accompanied the early portion of 2017.

However, after Friday’s stalemate, when the Elephants’ best (and almost only) chance came in the 85th minute, they are staring into the abyss…and the prospect of missing their first World Cup since making their tournament debut in 2006.

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