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Sobbing during anthem, Ivory Coast midfielder Serey Die provides evocative World Cup image

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Ivory Coast's Serey Die, left, is comforted by Didier Zakora after he was overcome with emotion as they play the national anthem before the group C World Cup soccer match between Colombia and Ivory Coast at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, Brazil, Thursday, June 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)The Associated Press

Sobbing uncontrollably through his national anthem, Ivory Coast midfielder Serey Die provided one of the evocative images of the World Cup before his team's match against Colombia on Thursday.

Die never thought he'd play for his country, never mind on world football's biggest stage, and it was all too much for him.

"My life has always been difficult," Die said. "It's true, I thought about my father who died in 2004. I also thought about my tough life — I didn't think that one day I would be here, playing. This emotion overwhelmed me and I am a very emotional person.

"I fought (against the tears) but I couldn't."

Teammate Kolo Toure says "he really loves his country — we don't see that in football."

Ivory Coast lost 2-1.