Undignified exit could cost Serbia

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WHAT looked like an otherwise anti-climactic Group C finale between Ivory Coast and Serbia & Montenegro has taken on more intrigue, with the threat of the Serbian players not getting paid if they fail to bounce back with a good effort following a 6-0 loss to Argentina.

Neither team can advance to the second round, but Serbia & Montenegro enter tonight's match in Munich facing the possibility that their football federation will withhold players' bonuses of 350,000.

Team spokesman Aleksandar Boskovic has said players could still share the bonus if they lose to Ivory Coast, but only if they go down "with some dignity".

The game will mark the last time Serbia and the soon-to-be-independent country of Montenegro play as one team, not that it will affect this line-up much. The only player in the team from Montenegro is goalkeeper Dragoslav Jevric.

Ivory Coast players haven't had any such financial threats as they continue to look for their country's first victory in their World Cup debut.

After 2-1 losses to Argentina and the Netherlands, the Elephants see their finale in Germany as a launching point for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

"We could have done something great here at the World Cup," said Ivory Coast coach Henri Michel, who is expected to quit after the tournament. "It turned out otherwise, but it shows there's hope for the future for Ivory Coast.

The result of this game is important."

Chelsea striker Didier Drogba is suspended.