Ivory Coast exited at the group stages of a World Cup once again as they were knocked out of the 2014 Brazil tournament after a 2-1 loss to Greece on Tuesday.
The European side bagged the opener in the first half before Wilfried Bony equalised with 15 minutes remaining, leaving the African side in a position to qualify.
But a foul from Ivory Coast in the box with just a minute remaining saw a penalty cooly converted by Georgios Samaras and Greece proceed at the Elephants' expense.
Didier Drogba started his first game of the tournament and took the captain's armband as well, a fact which the BBC's Farayi Mungazi felt would be well received:
Didier Drogba starts for the Elephants today. That should please one or two people back in #CIV!— Farayi Mungazi (@BBCFarayi) June 24, 2014
Opta provided his rather underwhelming but efficient World Cup stats prior to kick-off in the key match with the Greeks:
442 - Didier Drogba has only had three shots on target in 442 minutes at the World Cup, but has scored with two of them. Starter. #CIV— OptaJean (@OptaJean) June 24, 2014
The BBC's John Bennett noted that this was the final chance for the generation so defined by Drogba to get through to the World Cup knockout rounds after failing in the two previous tournaments:
While Ivory Coast started stronger and looked relatively sharp in attack, the 36-year-old Drogba's loss of pace was noticeable in the counter-attack.
He picked up a yellow card deep into the first half after a challenge on Samaras, per TODAY Sports, although it was a harsh one:
Despite his physical presence and ability to change a game, he did not really contribute to the Ivory Coast in the first half, as Greece took a lead, per total433.com's Fisseha Tegegn:
I know he is king and untouchable but Drogba was slow and poor during that first-half. #CIV— Fisseha Tegegn (@total_433) June 24, 2014
The former Chelsea man's performance did not improve much in the second half, although his side managed to bag a precious equaliser before Samaras dealt the killer blow.
Drogba was substituted after 80 minutes and received a fine ovation from the gathered crowd in Fortaleza, per the Sunday Times' Duncan Castles:
Yaya Toure also made a start for Ivory Coast despite the tragic loss of his brother Ibrahim earlier in the week, per Bleacher Report UK:
The Manchester City man was full of endeavour but did not seem to be at the top of his game. In one first-half moment he eschewed the chance to shoot from a range—a rarity—and a chance was wasted.
Football columnist Neal Collins highlighted the fact that Toure did not seem to be in the same form he showed so often for City as they won the league last season:
By the second half, the 31-year-old was playing in a very advanced role, per Bennett, but he still failed to really influence the game:
Ivory Coast's attacking intent was eventually their downfall as they left gaps at the back—even after they equalised—which ultimately led to the penalty as Serey Die found himself on the wrong side of Samaras.
It is the end of the road once again for the Ivory Coast's golden generation, and whether Toure and Drogba will ever grace a World Cup again is very doubtful.
Unfortunately, they were simply not at their brilliant best on Tuesday and Greece took full advantage, defending incredibly well and taking their chances.
While Greece move on to the last 16, Ivory Coast fly home once again having under performed.