A strong Ivory Coast squad eventually has to make its talent count at an African Cup of Nations tournament. This year's edition could be the perfect time to do it after the Elephants were drawn against the Democratic Republic Congo in the semi-final.
Here are the schedule and viewing details:
Date: Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Time: 7 p.m. (GMT) / 2 p.m. (ET)
Live Stream: Eurosport Player
A supremely gifted Ivory Coast squad booked its place in the last four by virtue of beating Algeria 3-1. Ivory Coast boss Herve Renard felt the beaten quart-finalists were the best team at this tournament, per BBC Sport.
There's an inherent danger of making his players too confident with those words. But it's also just as possible the Ivorians will be inspired by Renard's claim they've already seen off their toughest test.
But it would be foolish to overlook the challenge presented by DR Congo. In mid-October last year, the team beat Ivory Coast 4-3 in Abidjan. Dangerous forward Jeremy Bokila scored twice, according to Goal.com reporter Kingsley Kobo.
The Terek Grozny attacker also netted during his nation's dramatic last-eight win over Congo, per ESPN FC. Despite his strong form, or perhaps because of it, Bokila had been calling for more link play and better supply, according to BBC Sport reporter Nick Cavell: "Maybe we need a number 10 who can make the connection between defenders and strikers."
There may not be many passes being threaded through the middle for Bokila, but the supply from wide areas is still strong, thanks to Yannick Bolasie. The Crystal Palace wide man boasts the pace and trickery to outwit any defender and cause problems on the break.
It will be up to a pair of Ivory Coast's own Premier League stars to make sure Bokila and Bolasie don't run riot.
Liverpool centre-back Kolo Toure and his brother, Manchester City midfield powerhouse Yaya Toure, must be at their best. They'll also need a strong defensive game from energetic full-back Serge Aurier.
But it's further forward where Ivory Coast can cause the most problems. In particular, prolific striker Wilfried Bony will be a major threat after scoring twice against Algeria.
Bony's power, underrated technique and decisive movement could become a nightmare for the DR Congo defence. So could the lightning pace of Gervinho, the wide forward who's reinvented himself since flopping at Arsenal and finding a new lease on life with AS Roma.
Prediction: Congo DR 1-2 Ivory Coast
Ultimately, expect the Cote d'Ivoire to have just too much power, speed and guile in forward areas. However, Yaya Toure and company will be pushed all the way before goals from Bony and Gervinho lift them to the final.