Not for the first time Didier Drogba and his Ivory Coast teammates turned up at the Africa Cup of Nations wearing the mantle of favourite only to flatter to deceive.
In 2006, the Elephants suffered a shattering 4-2 penalty defeat to Egypt in the final in Cairo.
Two years later in Ghana they came up short once again to the Egyptians, losing 4-1 to the defending champions in the semi-finals. Fast forward to Angola 2010 and the Ivory Coast were sent packing yet again by a side from North Africa, this time Algeria proving their nemesis with Sunday's 3-2 extra time quarter-final loss in Cabinda.
Algeria coach Rabah Saadane summed up the disbelief at this latest Africa Cup of Nations' disappointment when he said: "I wasn't surprised by my team, but more by the decline of the Ivory Coast side."
Ivory Coast coach Vahid Halilhodzic was mystified at his multi-millionaire stars' latest example of "choking". "Great teams do not let a 2-1 lead a few minutes before full-time slip like that," said the Bosnian-born former Yugoslavian international who was suffering his first competitive defeat since taking over Ivory Coast in 2008.
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