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World Cup Elimination Leaves Ivorians Disappointed, But Proud

Ivory Coast's Elephants were eliminated Friday in the World Cup football tournament, but fans in Abidjan said their team played well.

Ivory Coast beat North Korea 3-0 Friday, but it was not enough to move the Elephants to the Round of 16. That disappointment could not shake the pride fans in Abidjan feel for their team.

This fan says it was a good game, even if they did not go as far as they needed. He says we were going to get eliminated, but they still put on a good show and they won. He says we have some of the best players. We were one of the favorites in Africa, he says, and we did what we could.

Earlier in the competition, Ivory Coast tied with Portugal and lost to Brazil 3-1. Some fans in Abidjan remained bitter Saturday towards what they believe was unfair refereeing in that game against Brazil.

This fan says if the arbitration had been good from the beginning, we would never have gotten to this point. But sadly, he says, Brazil received preferential treatment. What is going on, he asks, when a player touches the ball and the goal is counted as good?

Another fan said the match against Brazil was a blow to the players' moral, but the team played hard Friday.

He says the team has gotten better, but it did not have enough time to prepare. He says the trainers came only two months before the competition. He says there is quality on the Ivorian team but there was not enough time and the team was not as powerful as it could have been.

Theories aside, fans in Abidjan were taking the elimination in stride.

This fan says we are not disappointed. It is our country, he says, and we are proud. They played better, he says, than they had before.

Ivorians said they now plan to throw their support behind Ghana, the last African team remaining in the competition.

Of course, this fan says, we are for Ghana now. They are part of Africa, he says, and they need the support of all Africans.

Ghana plays the United States Saturday in its first match of the Round of 16.