One of the most exciting meetings of the group stages failed to ignite in Port Elizabeth with neither side able to bring a low-key game to life.
Much of the pre-match build-up had focused on whether Didier Drogba would start for Ivory Coast just 11 days after breaking his arm. The Chelsea striker was named on the bench by manager Sven-Goran Eriksson and struggled to make an impact on the game after being sent on as a 66th minute substitute.
The other major star on display, Cristiano Ronaldo, started like he meant business with a string of strong runs at the Ivory Coast defence. He brought the match to life on 11 minutes when he crashed a 30-yard shot off the upright with the goalkeeper well beaten.
The world's most expensive player was then involved in a 21st minute flashpoint when he and Guy Demel squared up to one another amid suggestions that he had dived to win a free-kick. The result was a yellow card for both and the rest of the first half descended into a tetchy contest devoid of any moment of real quality.
Ivory Coast looked brighter after the interval and Gervinho mis-controlled in the box to waste a shooting opportunity, before Salomon Kalou side-footed an effort straight at the goalkeeper from 18 yards as the match threatened to burst into life.
Liedson directed a headed half-chance on target midway through the half but goalkeeper Boubacar Barry was able to pluck the ball out of the air.
Drogba came on soon after but was something of a bystander until he skewed a stoppage-time chance from a tight angle wide after being shadowed well by club-mate Ricardo Carvalho.
With the game 30 seconds over the allotted three minutes of stoppage time, Ivory Coast decided to take a short corner and the referee saw that as a fitting place to end a match short on quality and attacking inspiration.