Friday, June 25, 2010

Portugal vs Brazil - Preview


Group G, 14:00 GMT, June 25, 2010
Durban Stadium, Durban, South Africa

Brazil have already qualified following back-to-back victories over North Korea and Ivory Coast, and while Portugal's place in the next round is not formally confirmed, the Ivorians need a nine-goal swing if they are to snatch second place in the group. In reality, this game is a straight shoot-out for top spot, which Brazil will secure with a win or draw in Durban.

Team Stat Comparison

Matches Played22
Table Position21
Goal Difference73
Goals for *7.00.0
Goals against *0.00.0
Last 5W-DW-W
Last 5 homeWW-W
Last 5 awayD
*  Goals per match - home matches for home club and away matches for away club
Stats: Portugal | Brazil

Competition Stats

GoalsTiago 2Luis Fabiano 2
AssistsTiago 1
YellowsCristiano Ronaldo 1Ramires 1
RedsKaká 1
Squads: Portugal | Brazil

Portugal player to watch: Liedson. The striker was relegated to the bench for the 7-0 drubbing of North Korea but scored after his emergence in the second half. Doing so again on Friday would be special indeed for a player who was born and grew up in Brazil and has only represented Portugal for 12 months. Liedson, like team-mates Deco and Pepe, has been warmly welcomed by his adopted nation but will not sing the Portuguese anthem on Friday as a mark of respect for Brazil.
Brazil player to watch: Lucio. With Cristiano Ronaldo back in goalscoring form, Brazil's captain may have to be at his commanding best to repel the Real Madrid forward. Lucio is the cornerstone of a Brazil side that, under Dunga, has a reputation for favouring solidity over style. That may be somewhat misleading as Brazil still possess greater flair than the majority of teams at the finals, but there is no doubt that in Lucio they have a player well versed in the destructive arts. Athletic, alert and inspirational, the Inter defender is an elite player.
Key battle: Fabio Coentrao v Dani Alves. The tussle between these two dynamic wide men will be a real spectacle on Friday. Coentrao is a winger turned full-back who was vastly impressive in Portugal's win over North Korea, linking up with Ronaldo to devastating effect and providing first-class delivery from wide on the left. Alves, meanwhile, is the Ringo Starr of the Brazil squad. Is he the best right-back in the world? No, he isn't even the best right-back in the seleção. But with Maicon settled at the back and Elano struggling with injury, the Barcelona star will be pressed into action in an advanced role on the right. Both players possess pace and skill in abundance. Sparks will fly.
Trivia: After scoring twice against Ivory Coast, Luis Fabiano has surpassed David Villa and now boasts the best scoring rate in international games of any player at the World Cup (minimum ten caps) 1. Luis Fabiano, 27 goals in 40 matches. 2. David Villa, 40/60. 3. Jong Tae-Se, 16/26. 4. Didier Drogba, 42/70 5. Soren Larsen, 11/19.
Stats: Under Dunga, Brazil are a formidable defensive unit and after the first two rounds of group games, no team had won more tackles (43).
Odds: Portugal (3.75), the draw (3.00) and Brazil (2.25) with Bet365. Luis Fabiano to score the first goal at 6.00 looks attractive, particularly if he continues to use his arms so productively.
Prediction: Brazil will be inhibited by the loss of Kaka but marry pragmatism with imagination and are a formidable side. Expect them to fend off Portugal and take top spot.

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