PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa — The Ivory Coast received a massive boost here on Tuesday with confirmation that iconic captain Didier Drogba was fit enough to start on the bench against Portugal.
Drogba's name on the team sheet for this opening Group G fixture looked a forlorn possibility 11 days ago when he broke his right arm in a World Cup warm-up against Japan.
The 32-year-old underwent surgery the following day and has since made a remarkable recovery, with match referee, Uruguyan Jorge Larrionda, giving him the green light to wear a protective cast should he play.
Drogba's place alongside Salomon Kalou and Aruna Dindane in the Ivory Coast attack has gone to Lille striker Gervinho.
This is the first time the two teams have met in the World Cup.
Portugal, making their fifth appearance in the competition, were semi-finalists in 2006, while Ivory Coast, on their World Cup debut, were knocked out in the first round in Germany.
Boubacar Barry, Guy Demel, Kolo Toure (capt), Siaka Tiene, Didier Zokora, Emmanuel Eboue, Ismael Tiote, Yaya Toure, Aruna Dindane, Salomon Kalou, Gervinho
Manager: Sven Goran Eriksson (SWE)
Eduardo, Paulo Ferreira, Ricardo Carvalho, Bruno Alves, Fabio Coentrao, Pedro Mendes, Raul Meireles, Deco, Cristiano Ronaldo (capt), Liedson, Danny
Manager: Carlos Queiroz (POR)
Referee: Jorge Larrionda (URU)
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