By BEN JACKEY
One Great Season
With all the drama unfolding this week, it's somewhat disappointing that the Group of Death's final round of pool play won't determine who will carry on to the elimination round. However, one game will determine what could be very important seeding.
Ivory Coast v. North Korea
This game would have been critical had Kim Jon Il's boys not been beaten by a touchdown against Portugal. This could be a very non-aesthetically pleasing match. Ivory Coast has problems scoring anyway. They've scored a grand total of one in this tournament.
North Korea is very defensive minded and (except against Portugal) is good at keeping its shape and packs 10 guys about 30 yards and in, despite the fact that against Portugal, North Korea got stretched out trying to get goals and flat out couldn’t keep possession.
A big question for Sven-Goran Eriksson is how long do you play Didier Drogba? The Elephants would need nine goals to get into the second spot and that would happen only with a 0-0 draw between Portugal and Brazil. So, do you risk Drogba’s arm for a meaningless match?
Ivory Coast wins 2-0, and gets one on a North Korea own goal.
Brazil v. Portugal
I'd be shocked if Dunga fields a full first team. Brazil is in. But if Portugal wins, it wins the group. It could determine who meets Spain in the first round (presuming Spain advances). This has the potential to be an entertaining match. Portugal's midfield was phenomenal against North Korea. The same could be said for Brazil's.
However, Brazil has shown some vulnerability in the back (see my Group G preview), having surrendered a goal against both North Korea and the Ivory Coast.
Look for a wide-open match that Brazil wins, 2-1.
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