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Brazil vs Ivory Coast – survival test in group of death

| 19.06.2010

Brazil have won their first two group games in every World Cup since 1982. Can the Ivory Coast bring their streak to an end on Sunday at 7.30 in Johannesburg? Brazil are odds on to win (8/13), the Ivorians 5/1 to produce the shock of the tournament.

To the world’s astonishment, Brazil found it hard going against speck of dust North Korea in their first game, which contributed to them slipping from their perch as favourites to win the tournament. They are currently 4/1 second favourites behind Argentina at 7/2.

The Ivory Coast slogged out a 0-0 draw against Portugal in their first game, but are only 8/1 to repeat that scoreline here, in spite of the fact they badly need at least a point and easily muzzled the Portuguese. On top of that, Brazil looked uninspired against Korea.

Brazil also had an uncharacteristic five 0-0 draws in qualifying, including four at home, suggesting goals might be hard to come by throughout the tournament. Not surprisingly, it’s odds on (4/6) that there’ll be fewer than 2.5 goals in the game.

Didier Drogba is expected to start, fractured elbow and all, and is the top priced Ivorian to score first, at 7/1. However, in his last encounter with Brazilian centre back Lucio, for Chelsea against Inter in the Champions League, the Brazilian easily had the measure of him.

Robinho is widely believed to back on form after a spell with Santos and was Brazil’s liveliest creative presence against North Korea. He is 5/1 to score the first goal. On his way down in terms of form is Kaka, still not fully fit after injury at Real Madrid, although still in the running to score the first goal at 7/1.

In spite of their tough group, Ivory Coast are still second favourites to be the African team to progress the furthest, at 2/1, behind Ghana (10/11)

Can Ivory Coast cause an upset here and go on to win the group? They are 6/1 to top Group G.

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Author

Ed Needham