Two heavyweights vs two dark horses

15:52, June 03, 2010      

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This is a group full of suspense, featuring five-time world champion Brazil, European power Portugal led by world's most expensive player Cristiano Ronaldo, Africa's best hope Cote d'Ivoire spearheaded by Chelsea ace striker Didier Drogba, and DPR Korea who has made a stunning return to the World Cup finals in 44 years.

This is the only group grouping four teams from four continents - South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. The clashes of four different types of playing make fans excited but situation subtle.

On the latest FIFA rankings, Brazil is at the top, Portugal the third, Cote d'Ivoire 27th, and DPR Korea 105th. It is easy to predict that Brazil and Portugal will advance, but Drogba will definitely say "No".

As the talisman of Cote d'Ivoire, Drogba has been the top scorer among the foreign strikers in English Premier League giants Chelsea. He is also the leading scorer in Cote d'Ivoire's history. His lightning speed, strong physique, shining skills and mental strength make him a terminator against any defense lines.

Moreover, Drogba now gains strong support from his Chelsea teammate and a rising star Salomon Kalou, Barcelona midfielder Yaya Toure and Manchester City defender Kolo Toure. They make up the backbone of the African Elephant.

Their boss is Sven Goran Eriksson, a world-famous coach from Sweden but has yet got any shinning records in World Cup finals. The Swede, who is strict in discipline of tactics, may upgrade the Elephant whose weakness is the lack of discipline. But Eriksson has taken the rein for only two months. Time is short.

Cote d'Ivoire qualified for the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany where they were unluckily drawn into the "Group of Death" with Argentina, the Netherlands, and Serbia & Montenegro. They lost to the first two, being eliminated, but beat the last 3-2.

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