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Ivory Coast can 'do an Arsenal' says Toure

Written by: Staff

NIEDERKASSEL, Germany, June 7 (Reuters) Ivory Coast defender Kolo Toure predicted today that the African side would 'do an Arsenal' and make a huge impact at the World Cup.

Toure reached the European Champions League final with his Premier League club side Arsenal last month and believes Ivory Coast could even go one better in their World Cup debut.

''Why not?'' the centre-back told Reuters. ''I believe in this team. We have so much quality. We know we can score any time. We are not here by accident -- we don't need to be scared.'' The Ivorians take on Argentina in their opening game on Saturday with Netherlands and Serbia&Montenegro also lurking in Group C.

Toure is relishing the challenge after an outstanding season with Arsenal.

''The Champions League final was the biggest experience of my life,'' said Toure. ''It showed we had a lot of good players like Emmanuel Eboue. It's not just me and Didier Drogba.

''It was Eboue's first season with Arsenal and he did fantastically. The Champions League definitely brought me more confidence and I want to bring that to the national team.'' Toure added: ''I'm not being pretentious but I think we can really do something fantastic at the World Cup.'' SPECIAL ATTENTION The 25-year-old said he had singled out Argentina striker Hernan Crespo and Dutch forwards Ruud van Nistelrooy and Robin van Persie for special attention.

Toure denied, however, there would be any extra needle involved if he is detailed to mark van Nistelrooy, who has never been a favourite among Arsenal players.

''I'll need to have my eye on van Nistelrooy but I won't give him any special treatment,'' said Toure, who plans to call Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger for advice during the tournament.

Toure also issued a warning for club team mate van Persie before Ivory Coast's June 16 clash with the Dutch, telling him he would not think twice going in hard.

''We're not team mates because we're at the World Cup,'' he said.

''I will not try to hurt him definitely. I will go for the ball but friendships go out of the window here.'' REUTERS DH BD1832

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