Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Group G Preview

In Group G we find the Confederations Cup winners and perennial favourites Brasil, along with Portugal, Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea). There have been some big injuries in this group, with Portugal's Nani & Ivory Coast's Drogba both getting hurt before the tournament starts.

Here is how the teams' travel, elevation and preparations look:

Brasil start in Jo'burg at 1753m, then just like Argentina they stay there for their second match, before moving down to Durban 569km away at sea level. Brasil opted to make some money and played Zimbabwe and Tanzania. Neither of these sides made it to the African Cup of Nations, but I think that Brasilian Football did make $5M from the encounters...both of which Brasil won comfortably.

Portugal are the only team in the tournament to play all of their matches at sea level. They start off in Port Elizabeth, then travel 748km to Cape Town, finishing off 1638km away in Durban. At home, Portugal were held 0-0 by Cape Verde, then beat Cameroon 3-1 before heading to South Africa where they beat Mozambique 3-0 at 1753m in Jo'burg.

Ivory Coast start at sea level in Port Elizabeth, then go 1062km to Jo'burg and gain 1753m, and finally head 345km to Nelspruit and drop 1093m. Ivory Coast drew 2-2 with Paraguay in France, and beat Japan 2-0 in Switzerland.

North Korea kick off in Jo'burg at 1753m, next they travel to Cape Town 1398km away at sea level, and then have the longest journey in the tournament: 1747km to Nelspruit and up 660m. DPRK lost 1-0 to Paraguay in Switzerland, drew 2-2 with Greece in Austria, and lost 3-1 to Nigeria in Jo'burg.

Here is how I think the matches will go:

Ivory Coast - Portugal
Without Drogba, the Ivory Coast are missing their main weapon, but they are still a very strong team and should get the win here.

Brasil - North Korea
It is Brasil - North Korea...really only one winner possible here. That said, if Brasil get overconfident they could be in for a shock. Still, 3 points to the Brasilians.

Brasil - Ivory Coast
Brasil don't have to travel at all and the Ivorians gain 1753m in altitude; this equals a comfortable win for the Brasilians.

Portugal - North Korea
North Korea may have a shot at a point here, but I think the Portugese are too strong and take all three, eliminating "Our Dear Team".

Portugal - Brasil
Portugal need a win here to have a chance to advance; unfortunately for them Brasil is a rival and would love to get a win over the Portugese and eliminate them, which is exactly what the Brasilians will do.

North Korea - Ivory Coast
Unfortunately for "Our Dear Team", the Ivorians also need a win to ensure they advance and they will get it.

Here is how the table will look:

Brasil 9 points
Ivory Coast 6 points
Portugal 3 points
North Korea 0 points

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