FIFA 2010 World Cup Preview Group G – The Group of Death
This group has scintillating prospects, and the battle for the first and second spots should produce the heartache and drama usually associated with the knock out stages.
Group G: Brazil, Ivory Coast, Portugal and North Korea
Brazil, 5 times winners of the FIFA World Cup and a really, really good side. Never to be discounted, always a threat, Brazil boast world class throughout their formation. A threat from any position, Brazil attack with pace and flare. I find it unconscionable that Ronaldinho was omitted entirely from this campaign, but the side still boasts quality in the form of Kaka, Alves, Maicon, Fabiano, Robinho and Lucio. Brazil has an indisputable history and pedigree, but it remains to be seen whether Dunga is able to successfully manage this side at a World Cup
Ivory Coast have a learned manager in the shape of Sven Goran Errikson, and this morning’s news that Didier Droga is cleared to play with an arm cast injects fresh life into the Ivory Coasts qualifying prospects. The elephants are a star-studded outfit, though they’re often guilty of playing as individuals and lacking unity as a team. Errikson hasn’t had much time with the team, but they’re a strong contender to emerge from the group of death.
North Korea, what a group to be drawn in, although rumors of a stern pep talk from Kim Jong-il add irony to their place in the Group of Death. This is North Korea’s first World Cup appearance since the year England never lets anyone forget, 1966. These guys could find themselves on the business end of three ass whippings as teams look to build goal difference advantage against them.
Portugal didn’t impose themselves as much a one would’ve thought during their qualifying, and their super-star Ronaldo has been fairly quiet in Portugal’s strip of late. Nani’s injury means additional responsibility for Deco’s in his role as distributor, one that he is capable of filling. The back is where Portugal look vulnerable and Ricardo Carvalho will be expected to lend his experience to marshal a vulnerable defense.
What we think will happen:
I think Brazil will top this group, they offer a complete package with several players capable of turning a game on its head. Second place is between Ivory Coast and Portugal. Drogba’s return is a massive boost both psychologically and physically, his prowess as a striker and skill as a ballerina is world-class. Ronaldo’s form, and lack of recent Portuguese goals is a concern, though it may be the calm before the storm. So tough to call, I’ll tip Ivory Coast to take it, but that’s passion more than instinct.