View Full Version : FIFA WC Soccer 2010 , GROUP G: all previews, reviews and match thread

May 31, 2010, 12:16 AM


<center> <table border="1" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse" bordercolor="#111111" width="75%" id="AutoNumber1" height="99"> <tr> <td width="4%" align="center" height="19">&nbsp;</td> <td width="21%" bgcolor="#C0C0C0" align="center" height="19"><b> <font face="Arial">Team</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#C0C0C0" height="19"><b> <font face="Arial">P</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#C0C0C0" height="19"><b> <font face="Arial">W</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#C0C0C0" height="19"><b> <font face="Arial">D</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#C0C0C0" height="19"><b> <font face="Arial">L</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#C0C0C0" height="19"><b> <font face="Arial">F</font></b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#C0C0C0" height="19"><b> <font face="Arial">A</font></b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#C0C0C0" height="19"><b> <font face="Arial">GD</font></b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#C0C0C0" height="19"><b> <font face="Arial">PTS</font></b></td> </tr> <tr> <td width="4%" align="center" height="20" bgcolor="#66FF99"><b> <font face="Arial">1</font></b></td> <td width="21%" bgcolor="#66FF99" align="center" height="20"><b> <font face="Arial">Brazil</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>3</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>2</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>1</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>0</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>5</b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>2</b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>3</b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>7</b></td> </tr> <tr> <td width="4%" align="center" height="20" bgcolor="#66FF99"><b> <font face="Arial">2</font></b></td> <td width="21%" bgcolor="#66FF99" align="center" height="20"><b> <font face="Arial">Portugal</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>3</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>1</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>2</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>0</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>7</b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>0</b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>7</b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>5</b></td> </tr> <tr> <td width="4%" align="center" height="20" bgcolor="#FF6666"><b> <font face="Arial">3</font></b></td> <td width="21%" bgcolor="#FF6666" align="center" height="20"><b> <font face="Arial">Ivory Coast</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>3</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>1</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>1</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>1</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>4</b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>3</b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>1</b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>4</b></td> </tr> <tr> <td width="4%" align="center" height="20" bgcolor="#FF6666"><b> <font face="Arial">4</font></b></td> <td width="21%" bgcolor="#FF6666" align="center" height="20"><b> <font face="Arial">North Korea</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>3</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>0</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>0</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>3</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>1</b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>12</b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>-11</b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>0</b></td> </tr> </table> </center>


Tuesday, June 15
14:00 - Ivory Coast 0 : 0 Portugal, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
18:30 - Brazil 2 : 1 North Korea, Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg

Sunday, June 20
18:30 - Brazil 3 : 1Ivory Coast, Soccer City Stadium, Johannesburg

Monday, June 21
11:30 - Portugal 7 : 0 North Korea. Green Point Stadium, Cape Town

Friday, June 25
14:00 - North Korea 0 : 3Ivory Coast, Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
14:00 - Portugal 0 : 0Brazil, Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban

* All times are GMT


http://www.fifa.com/imgml/flags/s/civ.gif IVORY COAST: Goalkeepers: Boubacar Barry, Aristides Zogbo, Daniel Yeboah
Defenders: Souleymane Bamba (Hibernian), Arthur Boka, Guy Demel, Emmanuel Eboue, Steve Gohouri, Siaka Tiene, Kolo Toure, Benjamin Brou Angoua
Midfielders: Jean-Jacques Gosso Gosso, Abdelkader Keita, Emmanuel Kone, Gervais Yao Kouassi, Christian Koffi Ndri, Cheik Ismael Tiote, Yaya Toure, Didier Zokora
Forwards: Aruna Dindane, Seydou Doumbia, Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou
Coach: Sven-Goran Eriksson

http://www.fifa.com/imgml/flags/s/por.gif PORTUGAL: Goalkeepers: Beto, Daniel Fernandes, Eduardo
Defenders: Fabio Coentrao, Paulo Ferreira, Ricardo Carvalho, Bruno Alves, Rolando, Ricardo Costa, Duda, Pepe, Miguel
Midfielders: Tiago, Deco, Raul Meireles, Ruben Amorim, Miguel Veloso, Pedro Mendes
Forwards: Simao Sabrosa, Hugo Almeida, Liedson, Cristiano Ronaldo, Danny
Coach: Carlos Queiroz

http://www.fifa.com/imgml/flags/s/bra.gif BRAZIL: Goalkeepers: Julio Cesar, Doni, Gomes
Defenders: Maicon, Daniel Alves, Michel Bastos, Gilberto, Lucío, Juan, Luisao, Thiago Silva
Midfielders: Gilberto Silva, Felipe Melo, Ramires, Elano, Kaká, Julio Baptista, Kleberson, Josué
Forwards: Robinho, Luís Fabiano, Nilmar, Grafite
Coach: Dunga

http://www.fifa.com/imgml/flags/s/prk.gif NORTH KOREA: Goalkeepers: Kim Myong Gil, Kim Myong Won, Ri Myong Guk
Defenders: Cha Jong Hyok, Ri Jun Il, Ri Kwang Chon, Nam Song Chol, Pak Nam Chol, Ri Kwang Hyok, Pak Chol Jin
Midfielders: Ji Yun Nam, Mun In Guk, Pak Sung Hyok, Ri Chol Myong, Pak Nam Chol, An Yong Hak, Kim Kyong Il, Kim Yong Jun
Forwards: Hong Yong Jo, An Chol Hyok, Jong Tae Se, Choe Kum Chol, Kim Kum Il
Coach: Kim Jong-Hun

May 31, 2010, 11:05 PM
Aha, tough group. Brazil should make it through. No chance for NK. But I think Portugal might just have the edge over Ivory Coast. But it will be fun to see Drogba and Ronaldo face off, this time for their national team as the main men :) With not much other support. The true player will evolve :D

June 1, 2010, 01:43 AM
Group that i'm most concerned about.

Brazil. 'Nuff Said.

My other fav team in here too, Portugal. My second fav team in Europe after Spain.

You cant help but love an African nation. The Ivorian have a tough task ahead.

The Great Leader is a madman. Cant help but love him.

June 1, 2010, 06:05 AM
BRRRRRRRRRRAZZZZZZIILLLL! Let's make it 6 times and do the samba in front of the Argie cheats!

June 1, 2010, 10:26 AM
Will Ivory Coast sneak through? Will their European players knock out Portugal?

June 1, 2010, 12:19 PM
ivory coast will go be the surprize package..... but who will get kncked Brazil or Portugal... dont know

June 1, 2010, 12:33 PM
Brazil never made an exit in the first round of a FIFA world cup as far as I know and there's no reason it'll happen this time.

June 1, 2010, 12:43 PM
^^ Asif, if I'm not mistaken, it happened only once. 1966.

June 1, 2010, 03:04 PM
Ivory Coast will knock Portugal out.

June 2, 2010, 09:54 PM
actaully i hate both BRAzil (that doesnt mean i support argentina) and portugal.

so would like to see ivorycoast knock one of them

June 4, 2010, 09:23 PM

Ivory Coast is now a lesser threat

June 8, 2010, 10:18 AM
nani injured for portugal and will be replaced by midfielder Ruben Amorim

June 14, 2010, 10:09 PM
Elephants look to stampede Portugal (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/preview?id=264068&league=FIFA.WORLD&cc=4716&ver=global)

To say that Portugal were unconvincing in qualifying for the World Cup would be an understatement. Their place in South Africa was only secured courtesy of a play-off victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina, and they failed to even score against lowly Albania in a home qualifying fixture, playing out an embarrassing 0-0 draw in Leiria.

Add to that Cristiano Ronaldo's failure to score in their qualification campaign, and a recent 0-0 draw at home to minnows Cape Verde Islands, and it would be fair to say that Carlos Queiroz is under as much pressure as any coach at the finals.

For the Ivory Coast's Sven-Goran Eriksson, though, it is an unexpected chance to lead the best equipped of the African nations into the continent's first World Cup finals. The draw may not have been kind to Ivory Coast, but having been grouped with unknown quantity North Korea and under-performing Portugal, Eriksson's men will be confident of progressing alongside probable group winners Brazil.

Their success, however, hinges on the fitness of talismanic striker Didier Drogba. Should Drogba recover from a broken arm in time to play a full part in Ivory Coast's campaign, they will be a team to avoid in South Africa.

Ivory Coast player in focus: Salomon Kalou. With doubts over the participation of Didier Drogba, following his injury in the friendly against Japan, the onus falls on his Chelsea team-mate Kalou to lead the attack. Quick, agile and with a good eye for goal, Kalou has been unlucky to be sidelined so regularly for his club and has a great chance to prove himself on the world stage.

Portugal player in focus: Cristiano Ronaldo. Having failed to score in Portugal's dismal qualifying campaign, Ronaldo has the expectations of the entire world on his shoulders in South Africa. He already talked of feeling under pressure, but he needs to be at his best if a weak Portugal attack is to fire. Without Nani, Ronaldo's trickery on the wings will have to provide a large chunk of the service for Liedson up front, and he will be the focus of all Portugal's moves.

Key Battle: Emmanuel Eboue v Simao. With Ronaldo on one side, Simao will have the chance to run at his man and may target Eboue as a weak link in the Ivorian defence. Having burst onto the scene as a full back at Arsenal, Eboue has been moved further up the pitch for his club and Simao will be keen to exploit his lack of defensive nous. Perhaps a spiky confrontation is on the cards as well, as both men have been known to lose their tempers in the past.

Trivia: Portugal have six players in their squad born outside of Portugal: Deco, Liedson, Pepe (all Brazil), Daniel Fernandes (Canada), Rolando (Cape Verde) and Danny (Venezuela).

Stats: Sven-Goran Eriksson has been knocked out of his last two major tournaments as an international manager at the quarter-final stage, on penalties, by Portugal (Euro 2004, World Cup 2006).

Odds: Ivory Coast (3.40), the draw (3.25), Portugal (2.20) with Bet365. With Portugal looking unconvincing in attack, 2-0 to Ivory Coast at 17.00 looks good value.

Prediction: A combination of a fit Didier Drogba and passionate African support should see Sven's men through to a narrow win but, if the Chelsea man misses out, a draw looks the more likely outcome.

June 14, 2010, 10:15 PM
Selecao seek a style change (http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/gossip_and_transfers/8740436.stm)

The most successful side in World Cup history, Brazil are revered around the world for their free-flowing, attacking style of football that has allowed them to give the world the gift of players like Pele and Garrincha. But a new breed of Brazilian finds itself at this year's World Cup, under the tutelage of their defensive midfield general turned coach, Dunga.

Fitting, perhaps, that Brazil will find themselves up against North Korea in the first game, as the defensive mindset that that has taken over the Samba stars is employed to full effect in Asia as well. Of course, the gap between the two sides is huge. Conventional wisdom dictates that Brazil should walk away with a comfortable win, but they will have to break down some stubborn defending if they are to do so.

In Kaka, Robinho and Luis Fabiano, Brazil don't quite have the same attacking platform as the three Rs of Rivaldo, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho from the last time they lifted the trophy in 2002 - but they do possess a very similar midfield with Kleberson and Gilberto Silva employed in the holding roles. For Cafu and Roberto Carlos, read Maicon and Michel Bastos - full backs so impressive that Barcelona star Daniel Alves is left on the bench - but the criticism of their style under Dunga has not lifted despite the players on show. Make no mistake: they may have topped their qualifying group but, to the Brazilian public, they have a lot to prove.

Their opposition, North Korea, have already won the favour of their fans simply by qualifying for the tournament. With a pedigree that includes a shock run to the quarter-finals in 1966, beating Italy 1-0 in the process, the Koreans head into South Africa knowing that just a draw in the 'Group of Death' will make them global celebrities. The secret nature of the country, and indeed the team, have many guessing how they will set up, but a 5-4-1 formation looks likely with every man behind the ball.

Brazil player in focus: Kaka. After months on the sidelines troubled by injury for his club Real Madrid, Kaka holds the key for the creativity of this Brazil side. This squad is not overly blessed with the usual array of attacking talents, but Kaka stands alone as one of the best in the world on his day. He will be well rested after the season and should be raring to go.

North Korea player in focus: Jong Tae-Se. The only North Korean to make himself readily available to the media before the tournament, Jong, who was born in Japan, has talked of his ambition to score a goal a game at the tournament. 'The Asian Wayne Rooney', as he has been dubbed, is basically the only attacking outlet for his side and has proved himself a dangerous finisher in some of the pre-tournament friendlies.

Key battle: Robinho v Nam Song-Chul. Robinho has a lot to prove at this World Cup after being shipped off to Santos on loan. His pace and trickery will certainly provide a tough test for the Korean defence, especially with Nam Song-Chul filling in on the left-hand side of defence and attempting to get forward as much as he can. Most likely, Nam will avoid any attacking urges but Robinho's talent as he drifts around the final third could embarrass his opponent.

Trivia: Korea means 'Land of the Morning Calm' in Korean and the North Korean football team's nickname is Chollima, a mythical winged-horse popular in central Asian folklore. It is said to be "too swift to be mounted".

Stats: North Korea's biggest win came in 2005 when it stomped Guam 21-0. Don't expect the same attacking prowess against Brazil.

Odds: Brazil (1.10), the draw (9.00), North Korea (29.00) with Bet365. Jong Tae-Se to score anytime is 7.00

Prediction: No shock here, although the Koreans may win over a few doubters if they can avoiding haemorrhaging goals early. Brazil should put at least three past them.

June 15, 2010, 03:37 PM
after this performace can North korea take some Confidence and surprise portugal and ivory coast

June 19, 2010, 09:56 PM
Samba magic meets African hope (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/preview?id=264069&league=FIFA.WORLD&cc=4716&ver=global)

Five-time world champions Brazil had to give a bigger effort than expected to defeat North Korea 2-1 in their opening game, but it was a performance that galvanised the team and secured three points for the Group H leaders. Brazil boss Dunga played four out-and-out attackers ahead of two holding midfielders and he is expected to do the same again against Ivory Coast.

Robinho outshone Real Madrid's out-of-sorts playmaker Kaka to create seven goalscoring chances for his team-mates, which was more than any other player in the opening round of fixtures at the 2010 World Cup. Robinho was involved in everything that was good about Brazil and he can expect more space against Ivory Coast than he did against North Korea's five-man defence.

Ivory Coast drew their opening match against Portugal 0-0, and with A Seleccao expected to beat the Koreans, they cannot afford to lose against Brazil. The good news for the Elephants is that coach Sven-Goran Eriksson has hinted star striker Didier Drogba will be fit to start.

Drogba broke his arm in a World Cup warm-up match against Japan but he made a miraculous recovery to feature off the bench against Portugal while wearing a special FIFA-approved protective cast. Drogba wasn't his usual bustling self, but his talismanic status in the Ivory Coast team means his inclusion against Brazil would surely lift the African side.

If Drogba does play, Eriksson will probably drop Gervinho from his three-man front line and shift Chelsea team-mate Salomon Kalou out to the left in a 4-3-3 system.

Brazil player to watch: Kaka - The squeaky clean Brazilian arrived at the World Cup following a pretty poor first season at Real Madrid and there are still question marks over his ability to get back to his best. But team-mate Robinho is backing the former World Player of the Year to come good saying: "When Kaka plays well he can decide any game. He is very important to us."

Ivory Coast player to watch: Aruna Dindane - The striker, who spent last season on loan at Portsmouth, was one of the few bright sparks in a dull draw with Portugal and will be charged with providing the bullets to Drogba's gun. Played on the right of the front three he will almost certainly be asked to whip crosses in for Drogba and his ability to do so with accuracy could hold the key for Ivory Coast.

Key battle: Lucio v Didier Drogba - The bulldozer of a forward will provide a focal point for Ivory Coast and he will almost certainly ruffle the feathers of Brazil's cultured defenders. The only problem is that he will be up against Brazil skipper Lucio, who shackled the Chelsea striker so well when playing for Inter Milan in the Champions League. But Drogba didn't end the season as top scorer in the Premier League by backing down from a challenge. This will be a grudge match to keep an eye on.

Trivia: Brazil have won all of their five World Cup matches against African teams, keeping a clean sheet each time in the process.

Stats: Ivory Coast scored an average of 3.2 goals per game with Didier Drogba in the qualifiers for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, compared to 1.9 without him.

Odds: Brazil (1.66), Ivory Coast (6.00), the draw (3.60) are all on offer at Bet365. But Ivory Coast have kept eight clean sheets in their last 16 competitive matches and the Elephants to win 1-0 will get 12.00.

Prediction: This Ivory Coast team are hailed as the most talented African side since the 1990 Cameroon side that reached the quarter-finals, but they will really have to pull out all the stops to beat Dunga's organised Brazil so the draw looks tempting.

June 20, 2010, 11:02 PM
Pressure on Portugal to avoid upset (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/preview?id=264070&league=FIFA.WORLD&cc=4716&ver=global)

North Korea can take a lot of heart from their opening defeat against Brazil. They may have lost the game, but it took the five-time World Cup winners over an hour to break them down and they even managed to sneak a consolation goal to add weight to the claims that they'll be no pushovers in the Group of Death.

Korea's defensive wall largely held firm against Brazil, but Portugal should be an easier proposition as Carlos Queiroz's men have struggled to make an impact in the final third of late. A dull 0-0 draw against Ivory Coast was preceded by the same scoreline against Cape Verde Islands and they have not managed to win over their doubters yet.

Of course, Portugal go into the game as favourites, but one feels that there is a possibility of an upset on the cards, given the recent form of the two sides. If Korea are to make an impact on the finals - more so than confusing stories over 'missing' players and interest in their fans' chants - then this may be the game in which to do it.

Portugal player to watch: Tiago: With Deco out injured, Tiago is likely to come in to replace him. He may not have shined while at Chelsea, but the midfielder has a wealth of experience at the top of the game and has a good range of passing that can unlock a defence. Having gone on loan to Atletico Madrid from Juventus in order to seal his spot in the squad, he will be keen to prove he is worthy of keeping it.

North Korea player to watch: Ji Yun-Nam. He finished off a decent move against Brazil to give the North Koreans their first goal at this year's finals and played his part in the game filling in at left-back. Full of experience, he will attempt to get forward when he can, but will find himself up against pace, tricks and creativity from Portugal's front three.

Key Battle: Liedson v Pak Chol-Jin: The Brazilian-born striker has the burden of goalscoring upon his shoulders and it is a position in which Portugal have suffered, essentially since the retirement of Eusebio. Liedson has the aerial ability as well as the power in the box that a central striker needs, but has been lacking some decent service of late. Pak's job will be to keep it that way and his resolve at the back proved indispensible in the qualifying campaign. A gritty and committed defender, he will be in for a busy afternoon.

Trivia: Portugal and Italy are the only two sides to have played both South and North Korea at World Cups.

Stats: North Korea's three goals scored against Portugal in their 1966 World Cup quarter-final defeat is still the only time an Asian side has scored three times in a World Cup match.

Odds: Portugal (1.33), North Korea (10.00), the draw (4.50) are all on offer at Bet365, but Cristiano Ronaldo to score first is a safe bet at 4.00.

Prediction: North Korea have already shown that they will be tough to break down and a draw could be on the cards if Portugal's attack continues to misfire.

June 21, 2010, 12:26 PM
this group is very straight forward ... ...

Brazil are through, North Korea are out.

ivory coast needs a big win, and also expect portugal to lose agaisnt brazil ... ... so that they can reduce the huge 9 goal advantage portugal have. so most likely portugal will join brazil in second round.

June 23, 2010, 06:52 AM
There's no way Brazil can beat Portugal, Brazilians are going down and out, Portugal will emerge as group champions, I wonder who we are going to face after thrashing the sorry Brazilians. hmmm

June 23, 2010, 08:33 AM
There's no way Brazil can beat Portugal, Brazilians are going down and out, Portugal will emerge as group champions, I wonder who we are going to face after thrashing the sorry Brazilians. hmmm


Ashraful Portugal er hoye khelle hoito ekta chance thakto...

June 23, 2010, 08:53 AM

Ashraful Portugal er hoye khelle hoito ekta chance thakto...

cristiano ronaaldo is Portguals Ashraful

June 24, 2010, 03:52 PM
Pride at stake as Ivorians hope for miracle (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/preview?id=264071&cc=4716&ver=global)

Ivory Coast need something approaching a miracle if they are to prolong their participation at the World Cup. Sven-Goran Eriksson's side must beat North Korea, hope that Brazil do likewise to Portugal and enjoy a nine-goal swing if they are to snatch second place from the European side. However, a sliver of comfort comes in the fact that North Korea conceded seven in their last outing.

The Chollima's humbling at the hands of Portugal means they are out of the competition, but having had their embarrassment in Cape Town broadcast live to the North Korean nation - a rarity in the secluded state - they will be wary of bringing the country into further disrepute. A performance more in keeping with their 2-1 defeat to Brazil will be required.

Given the improbability of a scenario in which they would qualify, Ivory Coast are also looking to restore pride after a 3-1 defeat to Brazil that saw the Elephants outpassed and outclassed. Kader Keita also heaped embarrassment on the side with his ridiculous playacting that resulted in Kaka being shown a red card. Ivory Coast will not have given up on reaching the second round but, as the old saying goes, it's the hope that kills you.

North Korea player to watch: Cha Jong-Hyok. While North Korea's defence clearly crumbled as they conceded six in the second half against Portugal, the right-back has still been one of his country's standout performers in South Africa. Surging forward at every given opportunity, Cha boasts impressive stamina and no little skill. His service from a wide position is important for North Korea and he is not afraid of shooting from range. Cha is the very model of a modern full-back, including in his propensity to get caught out of position.

Ivory Coast player to watch: Gervinho. The forward was relegated to the bench for the defeat to Brazil but benefitted from a poor performance from Aruna Dindane and came on after 54 minutes. A threat from an advanced position on the wing, Gervinho can be relied upon to supply some trickery and that may be needed to unlock a five-man North Korea defence.

Key battle: Hong Jong-Jo v Yaya Toure. Hong is the only North Korean player to ply his trade in Europe, representing Russia's Rostov, and is a key member of a side designed to counter-attack. Though he can play as an advanced forward, his best position sees him drop in behind lone striker Jong Tae-Se and that should put him firmly on Toure's radar. The Barcelona midfielder is a bullish presence in the holding role and will look to restrict Hong's influence on the game. Boasting fine technique, Toure is also instrumental in launching Ivorian attacks.

Trivia: In his previous role as Notts County director of football, Sven-Goran Eriksson was sounded out about leading North Korea at the World Cup. He turned them down, and was appointed Elephants boss in March.

Stats: There has only been one African win in nine World Cup encounters against Asian opposition. That came in 2002 when Cameroon defeated Saudi Arabia 1-0.

Odds: North Korea (8.50), the draw (5.00) and North Korea (1.36) with Bet365. North Korea to win to nil at 11.00 looks tempting, given they are likely to close ranks after the Portugal hammering.

Prediction: Do not expect a high-scoring game, North Korea will not want to suffer another humiliation. This game will be cagey, and Ivory Coast may be on the receiving end of a shock result.

June 24, 2010, 03:56 PM
Top spot at stake as Brazil and Portugal clash (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/preview?id=264072&cc=4716&ver=global)

It is something of a shame that the standout game of the entire group stage will be devoid of real tension due to the comfortable situation both sides find themselves in, but Brazil and Portugal are still competing for top spot in Group G - an honour which could see them avoid Spain in the second round.

Dunga's Brazil have already qualified following back-to-back victories over North Korea and Ivory Coast, and while Portugal's place in the next round is not formally confirmed, the Ivorians need a nine-goal swing if they are to snatch second place in the group. In reality, this game is a straight shoot-out for top spot, which Brazil will secure with a win or draw in Durban.

The seleção were superb in their 3-1 defeat of Ivory Coast - a performance which confirmed they still possess the style associated so intimately with Brazil - but the victory came at a cost. Kaka, the victim of some horrendous playacting on the part of Kader Keita, will be suspended for the Portugal tie following his red card. That means Brazil could move Robinho into a central role or call on Julio Baptista, but the loss of Kaka will be keenly felt by a side that relies on his expert use of the ball. Elano, too, may be missing as he continues his recovery from an ankle injury.

Portugal's own Brazilian, Deco, is another likely absentee due to a hip injury and his replacement, Tiago, scored twice in a 7-0 destruction of North Korea that saw Carlos Queiroz's side finally cast aside doubts over their prowess. Cristiano Ronaldo scored his first goal for his country in almost two years as an insipid 0-0 draw with Ivory Coast was quickly forgotten amid a shower of goals. Now two countries united by language will hope to put on a show of fluent football.

Portugal player to watch: Liedson. The striker was relegated to the bench for the 7-0 drubbing of North Korea but scored after his emergence in the second half. Doing so again on Friday would be special indeed for a player who was born and grew up in Brazil and has only represented Portugal for 12 months. Liedson, like team-mates Deco and Pepe, has been warmly welcomed by his adopted nation but will not sing the Portuguese anthem on Friday as a mark of respect for Brazil.

Brazil player to watch: Lucio. With Cristiano Ronaldo back in goalscoring form, Brazil's captain may have to be at his commanding best to repel the Real Madrid forward. Lucio is the cornerstone of a Brazil side that, under Dunga, has a reputation for favouring solidity over style. That may be somewhat misleading as Brazil still possess greater flair than the majority of teams at the finals, but there is no doubt that in Lucio they have a player well versed in the destructive arts. Athletic, alert and inspirational, the Inter defender is an elite player.

Key battle: Fabio Coentrao v Dani Alves. The tussle between these two dynamic wide men will be a real spectacle on Friday. Coentrao is a winger turned full-back who was vastly impressive in Portugal's win over North Korea, linking up with Ronaldo to devastating effect and providing first-class delivery from wide on the left. Alves, meanwhile, is the Ringo Starr of the Brazil squad. Is he the best right-back in the world? No, he isn't even the best right-back in the seleção. But with Maicon settled at the back and Elano struggling with injury, the Barcelona star will be pressed into action in an advanced role on the right. Both players possess pace and skill in abundance. Sparks will fly.

Trivia: After scoring twice against Ivory Coast, Luis Fabiano has surpassed David Villa and now boasts the best scoring rate in international games of any player at the World Cup (minimum ten caps) 1. Luis Fabiano, 27 goals in 40 matches. 2. David Villa, 40/60. 3. Jong Tae-Se, 16/26. 4. Didier Drogba, 42/70 5. Soren Larsen, 11/19.

Stats: Under Dunga, Brazil are a formidable defensive unit and after the first two rounds of group games, no team had won more tackles (43).

Odds: Portugal (3.75), the draw (3.00) and Brazil (2.25) with Bet365. Luis Fabiano to score the first goal at 6.00 looks attractive, particularly if he continues to use his arms so productively.

Prediction: Brazil will be inhibited by the loss of Kaka but marry pragmatism with imagination and are a formidable side. Expect them to fend off Portugal and take top spot.

June 25, 2010, 11:07 AM
so the big guns are through .................

brazil and portugal

June 25, 2010, 11:32 AM

Ashraful Portugal er hoye khelle hoito ekta chance thakto...

If Ashraful played for Portugal? are bhai ki bollen? He would have scored 3 goals. OWN GOALS and set off celebrating with the opposition.