Venue: Ivory Coast v Portugal in Port Elizabeth – World Cup Group G Match
Date Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Match Time: 4pm (local)
Ivory Coast v Portugal Odds: Ivory Coast win 7/4; draw 2/1; Portugal win 11/8.
Key players – Ivory Coast: Didier Drogba, Emmanuel Eboue, Salomon Kalou. Paraguay: Cristiano Ronaldo, Simao Sabrosa, Ricardo Carvalho.
Click Here for Ivory Coast v Portugal Live Streaming
Alex Michaels: I’m not buying the hype around the Ivory Coast, and equally, I’m not writing off the Portuguese either. As much as I’m a fan of Sven-Goran Eriksson, I don’t see how he will have had enough time to get to know his new team to get the best of Drogba and co. Similarly, while the Portuguese struggled in qualifying, I’m expecting Ronaldo et al to shine when the tournament kicks off. An easier-than-expected win over the Ivory Coast will set Portugal on their way, and I’ll even go so far as to predict a second round upset against Spain!
Frank Finnegan: Count me amongst the legions of bloggers and prognosticators picking the Ivory Coast to make some noise in the 2010 World Cup, and also amongst those picking Portugal to fall flat on their faces. This Portugal team was very fortunate to even get to the playoff stage in European qualifying for the World Cup, and then, along with France, were beneficiaries of a classic case of FIFA changing the rules as they go along and re-seeding the playoff teams. They lack offensive punch and mental toughness, and do not have enough to defeat the Elephants on African soil. Drogba and the Toure brothers will be too much for Portugal and win 2-0. The Ivory Coast would have a real shot at making a deep, deep run in this tournament, if not for the fact they’re likely to face Spain in the round of 16. These guys can’t catch a break when it comes to World Cup draws – in 2006 they were stuck in a group with both Argentina and the Netherlands. My main decision for this match is whether to wear my Ivory Coast shirt, or my ‘Eboue is my Homeboy’ shirt. Will likely wear the former, and wave the latter furiously over my head.
Peter Howard: I tend not to read a whole heap into any of the friendlies leading up to World Cup, but I suspect Ivory Coast had a wake up call in its draw with Paraguay. Comfortably up 2-0, Ivory Coast settled for a draw after giving up two goals in the final 15 minutes. A full 90 minutes will be crucial for Ivory Coast against Portugal. The Portuguese were dismal in qualifying, and that level of play will not get them far in World Cup. Drogba is a star, and he will come out extremely motivated for this match. Look for him to have a monster day, netting a hat trick in the 3-1 Ivory Coast win.
Greg Neville: This is one of the must-see group stage matches – Didier Drogba v Cristiano Ronaldo. This is a crunch match for the group of death with the winner likely to proceed along with Brazil. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say this is going to be a cracker! The Europeans should go into this clash as slight favourites with the bookies, but it will come down to which superstar steps up on the grandest stage and take this game into their own hands. They both have the ability to change the outcome of any game. I’m giving the edge to the Chelsea striker in a 3-2 victory for the Elephants.
Ron Patel: Not sure I agree with all the backing of Ivory Coast. Portugal, while not firing offensively, is pretty tight at the back. The Europeans are better organized, and I think Ronaldo will come out and have a big game. Having Sven-Goran Eriksson as Ivory Coast boss may not necessarily be a good thing. Look how he messed up England, so intent to stick with Becks. Portugal 2-1.
Other June 15 matches:
World Cup Group F match: New Zealand v Slovakia in Rustenburg at 1.30pm.
New Zealand v Slovakia Odds: New Zealand win 6/1; draw 11/4; Slovakia win 2/5.
World Cup Group G match: Brazil v North Korea in Johannesburg at 8.30pm
Brazil v North Korea Odds: Brazil win 1/12; draw 6/1; North Korea win 16/1.[