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Group G


gotosy

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(Reuters) - Brazil gave a glimpse of the Latin American flair they will bring to the World Cup in South Africa with a 3-0 warm-up win over Zimbabwe on Wednesday, a victory tempered by an injury to goalkeeper Julio Cesar

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Brazil doctor Jose Luis Runco said the Inter Milan player, rated as one of the world's top goalkeepers, had been taken off as a precaution after hurting his back.

Reuters

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Let's face it...even an understrength Brazil should account for all teams in this group with comparative ease, and top the table for final 16 qualification. Cote d'Ivoire and Portugal will battle out second place, and considering the sub-par performance of the Portuguese in qualifying (though they did give Cameroon a thumping) I wouldn't be surprised to see the Ivorians go through. North Korea will find it a struggle to defend against more technically skilled aggressive opponents, and so should come dead last.

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I agree... Brazil shouldn't have problems to qualify as the leader (although I'm hoping they don't so they won't meet Chile in the second round haha)... but I wouldn't be surprised if Ivory Coast goes through instead of Portugal...

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I think the match order will benefit Brazil as well.

We are going to face North Korea first, which should be a win for Brazil. It might even be a difficult match, since it is the first and the nerves play a big role. Besides, this Brazilian team plays better when it is attacked than when it tries to create pressure on the opponent.

On the other hand, Portugal and Cote d'Ivoire are going to play a life and death match. Both coaches are probably doing their planning considering that they are not going to beat Brazil and that Brazil will be one of the teams to go through. So, they will probably play hard. If Portugal wins, I think this group will be decided. If Cote d'Ivoire wins, it will be open. If it draws, Brazil is through and they will probably settle the second position by goal difference or by trying to pull a draw with Brazil.

Second round will be interesting. Depending on the dynamics of Brazil and North Korea, the Portuguese team might go for a big goal difference or be cautious to avoid giving away points from this match. The big question about this group is how good North Korea is. If Cote d'Ivoire needs a win against Brazil they are probably going to loose. Their best chance is for Brazil to dominate possession, so that they can try to finish the match in counter attacks. There is a big chance that Brazil will secure its place on the next phase after this game. Portugal will also be in a good position if it beats Cote d'Ivoire.

Last round will depend on who is qualified. If Brazil or Portugal are qualified, they will probably sit their players with yellow cards to avoid a second round suspension. This might give an edge to the opponent. In Brazil, except for Kaká, the players have good enough replacements. Portugal, on the other hand, might have more trouble by trying to avoid suspensions.

Cote d'Ivoire's hopes are in their first match. They need to win it more than Portugal, since the Portuguese are going to face North Korea next. If they do not win the first match they will be forced to go after Brazil, which is too risky, since the North Korea-Portugal match is on the next day. So, they will have to play considering a Portuguese victory. And Portugal will be in a good position to adapt its game plan according to the match the day before. If they win, they will need a draw against a probably qualified Brazil.

Because of the table more than the teams themselves, I would bet on Brazil in 1st and Portugal in 2nd. And second place will be decided on the 15/06 in Port Elizabeth. If Cote d'Ivoire wins this match it should go through and even Brazil's path will be harder.

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LOL biggrin.gif

BBC

North Korea's cunning plan to use their third goalkeeper spot for an extra striker has backfired badly.Fifa have told them Kim Myong-Won, who usually plays as a centre-forward, will only be able to play as a goalkeeper in the World Cup.

Coach Kim-Jong Hun only named two regular goalkeepers in his squad, opting to choose Kim Myong-Won as a back-up keeper.

But in a statement, Fifa said: "The three players listed as goalkeepers can only play as goalkeepers during the Fifa World Cup and cannot play outfield. This will be communicated to the teams in the team arrival meetings and will be enforced on match days."

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He might be one of the worst divers in world football, and a monumental idiot at times, but this is a big loss for the World Cup. What a shame.

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He might be one of the worst divers in world football, and a monumental idiot at times, but this is a big loss for the World Cup. What a shame.

He is definitely one of the world's finest strikers. Surely, he was looking forward to playing on his home continent putting on an inspired show with his team. Coach Sven Goran Eriksson says The Elephants will have to "disperse" the scoring load from Drogba. But can they REALLY replace him, despite being talented as a team? No.

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Certainly looks like the Portuguese have their chances improved. No matter what anyone says about the strength of any middle power team (such as Ivory Coast) losing an iconic player will unbalance the structure and skills, hence reducing their capabilities. The same can be said of many African and Asian teams

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I'm not sure Brazil will be 1st in this group... Probably the decision will be made by Brazil vs. Portugal in the third round.

And Portugal have a good team. It will be a great game. One of the best in the group part of the World Cup.

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A good article in today's Independent:

No fans, no luck: spare a thought for North Korea

They did well to qualify and aim just to avoid humiliation. But it's all going wrong already

The journey started, appropriately enough, in one of football's remotest outposts, the dilapidated National Sports Stadium in Ulaanbaatar, with a fixture against Mongolia. Next stop is the spick and span Ellis Park in Johannesburg a week on Tuesday where the World Cup's men of mystery will reveal themselves in front of 62,000 spectators and millions of global television viewers against the game's historic masters, Brazil.

It threatens to become a chastening experience for the least familiar side in South Africa, but it seems doubtful whether back home in North Korea, one of the world's most controlled nations, the population will have a clue as to the team's fate. No North Korean fans have been allowed to travel to South Africa and the game will not be broadcast live on TV in the country – Kim Jong-il, the "Dear Leader", may let it be shown a couple of days later, although if the outcome is as expected, a one-sided win for Brazil, he is rather more likely to maintain the blackout.

Benito Mussolini is said to have exhorted his Italian players to "win or die" ahead of the 1938 World Cup (they won it) and while no such drastic urgings have been reported from Pyongyang, North Korea's capital, the ultra-defensive mindset of the team is perhaps telling. Humiliation on the pitch is best avoided if their return home is not to be accompanied by similar off it. Unfortunately for Kim Jong-hun's squad they have been cast in the role of sitting duck in the "Group of Death", with Ivory Coast and Portugal the other participants.

The "Dear Leader" is said to have passed on his own tips to the coach as to how to face up to their sporting foes. Kim Jong-il's political doctrine is known as the Juche Idea, which calls for "self-defence in the national defence" and that pretty much sums up the side's approach on the football field too. "We could not have qualified for the World Cup without his support," declared Kim Jong-hun sensibly enough.

In 1966, their last appearance in the finals, they were warmly received in England, particularly in Middlesbrough, but the country returns to football's greatest stage now regarded as an international pariah. Their participation comes against a background of serious tension on the Korean peninsula. South Korea has accused the North of sinking one of its frigates in March and killing 46 sailors, and there are murmurs of escalating conflict in East Asia. One of the lesser consequences of the latest freeze in relations is that South Korea control the TV pictures from Africa and may prevent them being broadcast to the North.

Forty-four years ago it was very different as they charmed the crowds at Ayresome Park, beating Italy, and then in the quarter-final at Goodison Park they hurtled into a 3-0 lead against Portugal only to be denied by the robust brilliance of Eusebio. In one of the great individual performances in the tournament's history, the Mozambique-born forward scored four times as the Portuguese turned utter embarrassment into a 5-3 win and collected a place in the last four.

The support the Chollimas (a mythical winged horse from Korean legend) will muster in South Africa is likely to be limited to 1,000 Chinese fans dispatched by Beijing, which regards North Korea "as close as lips and teeth", to provide a measure of cheer for their ideological cousins. They will certainly struggle to win over neutrals with a playing style that concentrates utterly on not conceding goals. It is an approach best summed up by goalkeeper Ri Myong-Gu's description of his job as "defending the gateway to my motherland". He does it well, too, having kept clean sheets in 10 of the 16 games en route.

In qualification they scored nine goals in their first two games, home and away against Mongolia, and then managed only 11 more in their next 14 matches, against the likes of Turkmenistan, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan. They finished as runners-up to South Korea to reach South Africa, their success surprising many as they denied the regional heavyweights of Saudi Arabia and Iran – doughty goalless draws in both countries proving crucial.

"It was a great day," said their coach Kim of qualification. He will set his XI out in similar vein here. "While the global trend is attacking football, we stick to our largely defensive strategy with the 5-4-1 formation, mainly because this is the tactic which best suits our players," he said.

The squad all play in the domestic league, refashioned as the Super League last year, bar two; Jong Tae-se plies his trade in Japan, the country of his birth, while Hong Yong Jo plays on the wing for FC Rostov, strugglers in the Russian Premier League. The squat and powerful Jong, who scored four times on his debut against Mongolia, comes with the label "The People's Rooney", although he declared in a recent interview that he considers his style more akin to that of Didier Drogba. At 25 he is a year older than Rooney and his ambition is to play against (or with him) in the Premier League. A regular scorer for Kawasaki Frontale in the J League, Jong had an unsuccessful trial with an unnamed Premier League club this year.

Two goals last week in an impressive performance in a 2-2 draw in a warm-up match with Greece demonstrated Jong's raw talent, but his is often a thankless task as he ploughs a lonely furrow up front. He has in the past been joined by Kim Myong-won, but that will not be happening in the finals. Kim also plays in goal and was named as a keeper in the final 23-man party, the cunning plan being to sneak some more striking power into the squad. But Fifa responded by decreeing that if Kim has been listed as a goalkeeper then he can only play as a keeper. Sepp Blatter's name has no doubt gone straight into the "Dear Leader's" black book.

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kim-jong-hun_p10_387277t.jpg

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And a superb documentary on that 1966 North Korea team:

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=fZcARgTqADU

"In 1966 North Korea created the greatest shock in World Cup history"...

Hmmm... maybe for the English people who always forget the match USA 1 - 0 England in 1950. Considered by many the biggest shock ever.

When the news got UK the following day, some newspapers published the score USA 0 - England 10, thinking that it was a type mistake.

Hollywood made a movie about this game in 2004, curiously called "The Games of Their Lives", then renamed in 2005 as "The Miracle Match".

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=n_OLwqVc7M4

"The games of their lives" (USA, 2004)

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One of the biggest shocks then, whatever. England-USA talk should go in the Group C thread anyways - I'm surprised it took a Brazilian to bring up that match in the 50s to be honest. :P

It's a really good documentary, if you get time you should watch more than the first five minutes ;)

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Another one bites the dust...

Portugal winger Nani has been ruled out of the World Cup after suffering a shoulder injury.

"After tests we conclude he is unfit to participate in the World Cup," said a team statement.

Manchester United's Nani picked up the injury in training on Friday in Lisbon before flying to South Africa.

_48022042_nani226.jpg

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"In 1966 North Korea created the greatest shock in World Cup history"...

Hmmm... maybe for the English people who always forget the match USA 1 - 0 England in 1950. Considered by many the biggest shock ever.

When the news got UK the following day, some newspapers published the score USA 0 - England 10, thinking that it was a type mistake.

Hollywood made a movie about this game in 2004, curiously called "The Games of Their Lives", then renamed in 2005 as "The Miracle Match".

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=n_OLwqVc7M4

"The games of their lives" (USA, 2004)

But that film has some historical inaccuracies. To give a couple, there actually were NO black players on the US team (the role of Joe Gatjens was played by Haitian-American actor Jimmy Jean-Louis...Gaetjens was mixed--Haitian and German) and depicted as practicing voodoo but really was Catholic. Also, Ed McIlvenney, a Scottish-born US player, was actually captain of the US team in that game versus England in Belo Horizonte, Brazil instead of Walter Bahr, whom the film designates as captian.

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But that film has some historical inaccuracies. To give a couple, there actually were NO black players on the US team (the role of Joe Gatjens was played by Haitian-American actor Jimmy Jean-Louis...Gaetjens was mixed--Haitian and German) and depicted as practicing voodoo but really was Catholic. Also, Ed McIlvenney, a Scottish-born US player, was actually captain of the US team in that game versus England in Belo Horizonte, Brazil instead of Walter Bahr, whom the film designates as captian.

If there are inaccuracies (like for example, replacing McIlvenney with Bahr), then maybe they could not get the proper clearances to use McIlvenney from him (if he is still alive) or his estate--altho why I don't know. But I believe that would be the only reason filmmakers change names in historical accounts of recent history.

Here's some trivia behind the filming:

The scene of the wedding reception of Gino Pariani and Janet Capiello had the actual St. Louis players, Frank Borghi, Gino Pariani and Harry Keough and their children and grand-children, as guests attending the reception.

Link this trivia

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Was filmed during a summer in and around St. Louis's Italian neighborhood known as "The Hill". Many of the family-owned businesses there participated, and were transformed into part of the set with temporary facades and storefronts to give a 1950s-era feel.

Link this trivia

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Director David Anspaugh and script writer Angelo Pizzo were unhappy with studio executives, who cut their budget from $65 million to $27 million. Thus, the film's running time had to be reduced from almost 2 hours 10 minutes to 1 hour 41 minutes. Some notable exclusions were Frank "Pee Wee" Wallace as a German POW and an emotional scene of "America as a melting pot" in which the players go to Ellis Island and look up records of their ancestors. Pizzo said that only 45-50% of what he intended to be in the movie actually made it into the final cut.

Source: imdb.com

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Drogba-less Ivory Coast held 1-1 by Swiss club

(AFP)

NYON, Switzerland — Injured Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba stayed out of the public eye on Tuesday as his teammates missed a host of chances in a 1-1 World Cup warm-up draw against Swiss second division club Lausanne.

Drogba, who fractured a forearm in a friendly against Japan last Friday, was not seen during the game at Colovray stadium in Nyon, western Switzerland.

The Ivory Coast football federation had signalled more than day ago that the Chelsea player was expected to follow the squad from the touchline here, after an operation in a hospital in Bern on Saturday.

...

Ivorian spokesman Ouattara Hegaud said Monday that no decision has yet been taken on 32-year-old Drogba's fitness for the World Cup.

Under FIFA rules, a replacement can be drafted in until the day before a team's first game on June 15 against Portugal

AFP

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One of the biggest shocks then, whatever. England-USA talk should go in the Group C thread anyways - I'm surprised it took a Brazilian to bring up that match in the 50s to be honest. tongue.gif

It's a really good documentary, if you get time you should watch more than the first five minutes wink.gif

I watched and loved it, Robh, as usual, great job made by BBC.

About the USA-England game, it's World Cup time!!! Time to make some football-related jokes =]

Your turn, you can talk about Uruguay 2 - 1 Brazil in 1950. =]]]

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Drogba could start against Portugal, says Eriksson

OHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Ivory Coast captain Didier Drogba could start their opening World Cup game against Portugal next week, coach Sven-Goran Eriksson said on Thursday.

Drogba, 32, broke his arm during a friendly against Japan on June 4, and needed surgery.

"If the game had been today or tomorrow, he wouldn't play. But there are still some days. He might play against Portugal," Eriksson told journalists at the team's arrival on Thursday.

http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2010/06/10/drogba-start-portugal-says-eriksson/

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Let's face it...even an understrength Brazil should account for all teams in this group with comparative ease, and top the table for final 16 qualification.

I'm not so sure of that. This is the toughest group I can remember Brazil having in the first stage of a World Cup. Of course, North Korea should be the whipping boys for the other three teams, but if the Brazilians are as complacent as you seem to be, they'll be going home very early.

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I'm not so sure of that. This is the toughest group I can remember Brazil having in the first stage of a World Cup. Of course, North Korea should be the whipping boys for the other three teams, but if the Brazilians are as complacent as you seem to be, they'll be going home very early.

In 1994, we have faced Cameroon, coming from a quarter-finals elimination in 1990, Sweden, which was considered a strong team with Thomas Brolin, which finished in 3rd in 94, and Russia which kept a lot of the Ucranian players from Dinamo Kiev. It was a group which was even stronger than the current one.

The problem is that everyone thinks of players and not teams. Ivory Coast is an underachieving team. In the last Africa cup of Nations, they were eliminated in the quarter-finals. Portugal has not played well since Scolari left. North Korea is the 4th place in the Asian qualifiers, which says pretty much everything.

The group is strong only when you say Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaká and Drogba. But, when you compare the teams, Brazil has an edge, which doesn't mean that it will qualify.

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