World Cup favourites Portugal take on resilient North Koreans, Ivory Coast watches, Brazil looking strong

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PAUL MARK

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  • World Cup favourites Portugal take on resilient North Koreans, Ivory Coast watches, Brazil looking strong

World Cup favourites Portugal take on resilient North Koreans, Ivory Coast watches, Brazil looking strong

 

Brazil has already made it through from the all important group of death. Now it’s the turn of the other favourite from the group to prove their worth. Portugal who were disappointing to say the least in their opening game against Ivory Coast would take on North Korea in the first match of Monday at Green Point Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa.

 

North Korea was very impressive against the 5 time world champions Brazil in their opening match, even though they lost the match 2-1. They gave enough evidence to prove that they belong in the World Cup finals. There was hunger and desire among the Asian team which sadly was missing in Portugal’s performance against the Ivoirians. The big name European stars were frustrated by the game plan of the Africans. Limited to long range shots Portugal finished the match in a goalless draw.

 

It’s time for stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo to stand up and be counted. For a player who at this young age has achieved so much at the club level, international success is the next step. Now that he is the captain he has even more reason to rise to the occasion. And despite him having his critics the world knows that the boy can play. The whole of Portugal would be hoping and praying that this is the time when he comes good for his country.

 

If Portugal does not manage to get all 3 points, then things can get messy for them. Ivory Coast has1 point from 2 games, and they will have the same in case of a loss. And their last match is with Brazil while Ivory Coast and Korea will play each other in hope that Brazil will take care of Portugal. The winner of that match will go on with the Samba boys to the last 16.

 

Looking back to the opening match for Portugal, the problem mostly seemed to lie in the middle of the park. There was no creativity and lack of coordination between the strikers and midfielder. The full backs when dashed forward were not aided well by the wingers. On occasions when Wingers carried the ball through the flanks the back up from full backs was not there. Once again it is lack of coordination and loosely constructed plans

 
The problem is not something that just suddenly happened in one match. The Europeans had numerous problems in the early part of their qualifying campaign. It all came down to play-offs in the final stages and their chances of making it to the finals was under jeopardy.

 

Talking about North Korea, they in short were outstanding in their first game.  Yes there were times in the first match when all 11 players from opposition were in Korea’s half. But there were times in the match when they showed some beautiful football. There was a proper game plan and man-to- man marking when it came to defence. If was not for that the 5 time world champions may have run all over their un-fancied opponents

 

The immensely talented front man Jong Tae-Se, will be the key for Korea. If they are to finally put some finishing touches on the moves they already are able to make without a final product.

 

While for Portugal, the obvious man to look out for is Ronaldo when it comes to creativity. In the centre of the field Deco will have to be in charge. Threaded balls through to the strikers will have to be more consistent. The thing which was missing in the first game, support to wingers from full backs if executed correctly can result in number of balls dropped in to the 6 yard box.

 

So now the obvious choice has to be Portugal for this match. If things go right for the Europeans they should win by at least 2 clear goals.