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Group G Focus
Published : 15 Jun 2010 11:10:03Rss feed
In arguably the most exciting World Cup group, Brazil, Portugal, Ivory Coast and Korea DPR battle it out for a place in the last 16. Joe Strange makes his predictions.
The record five-time world champions have regained their unique, irresistible groove under Dunga's tutelage. They head to South Africa as the Copa America and FIFA Confederations Cup holders as well as the top-ranked in South American qualifying. Portugal and Ivory Coast will provide a tough challenge but Kaka and co should still have enough to win all three group games.
Odds - 9/2
Carlos Queiroz's side may have only scraped through to the finals via a play-off victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina, but the Africa-born coach has copious talent at his disposal. Much of it will come from Cristiano Ronaldo, a player capable of swinging any match. A narrow defeat to Brazil will mean their opening game against Ivory Coast will ultimately decide who comes second in the group.
Odds - 28/1
The Ivorians proved themselves a force to be reckoned with at Germany 2006, when they gave Argentina and the Netherlands serious cause for concern in narrow defeats, before defeating Serbia and Montenegro. The Elephants have come on leaps and bounds since with the likes of Kolo Toure, his brother Yaya, Solomon Kalou and hulking forward Drogba helping them coast through to South Africa 2010 without a single defeat. They must be at their best to beat Portugal to have any chance of reaching the last 16.
Odds - 50/1
The Chollima caused a major shock simply by qualifying for South Africa. They will need a significantly bigger one to reach the Round of 16. Belying the odds is not, however, alien to the North Koreans, who pulled off one of the most colossal upsets in FIFA World Cup history by beating Italy 1-0 en route to the quarter-finals in 1966. No such shocks this time around - expect three defeats for the Asian side.
Odds - 2000/1