World Cup Odds and Picks: Brazil Vs. Ivory Coast Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 6/19/2010
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The Group of Death (G) opens second-round group stage play with another terrific matchup on Sunday between Brazil and the Ivory Coast. The match will be at 2:30 p.m. Eastern and shown on ABC.
The Ivory Coast enters off a 1-1 draw with Portugal, which might seem a good result on paper but the Ivorians dominated the match. The Ivory Coast created eight scoring chances and held Portugal to just three - tied for third-fewest by a Portuguese team ever at the World Cup.
"I thought if any team had won it should have been us, we created more chances," said Ivory Coast manger Sven-Goran Eriksson in published reports. "I am very happy with the performance in terms of discipline and organization.”
The big news was that Ivory Coast star striker Didier Drogba did play. He came on as a 66th-minute substitute after FIFA cleared him to play with a cast on his right arm, which he broke in a warm-up match against Japan on June 4.
Frankly, the attack seemed to slow with Drogba in there. He got two touches in the box and one shot, which he probably should have scored on. Drogba later revealed it was his decision to be included among the substitutes and said he could be ready to start against Brazil.
"It was everybody's decision, but yes, my decision to play and say to the manager that if he needed me, I was going to be there. I could be ready. We have five days to prepare for this game, so I am there,'' the Chelsea star said in published reports.
"For us to have him on the pitch even for 25 minutes was important and he'll be more ready for our next match," Eriksson said.
Brazil, meanwhile, was one of the few countries to score multiple goals in the first round, beating a game North Korea squad 2-1.
North Korea went into a defensive scheme -- alternating between an 8-1-1 and a 5-3-2 formation, the North Koreans clogged space for playmaker Kaka and for Luis Fabiano. Brazil dominated possession in the match, 63 percent to 37 percent. And Brazil completed 556 passes, the seventh-highest total in a match since 1966. But they weren’t really allowed good looks until the second half, when Maicon put Brazil ahead in the 55th minute and Elano scored on a one-timer lead in the 72nd.
Brazil vs. Ivory Coast World Cup Odds:
Ivory Coast is the underdog at +1 to win (-180) and Brazil at -1 (+140). If you wager with the draw the odds are Brazil -160 to win straight up, Ivory Coast +450 to win SU and the draw at +260. The total is 2.5 (under the -165 favorite). Odds are courtesy of Bodog and Sports Interaction.
Brazil vs. Ivory Coast Picks and Predictions:
Brazil will win if: It doesn’t take more than a half to pierce an airtight defense. The North Koreans may have given teams a blueprint, and this Brazilian squad isn’t the offensive juggernaut of past teams as it plays a more defensive, physical style under Manager Dunga. But clearly Brazil should win as it has much more talent. Kaka, for example, was a non-factor against North Korea as he tries to gain his fitness. But don’t look for him to struggle again (he was subbed in the 78th minute).
Ivory Coast will win if: Drogba plays the full game and is able to find the net. At worst it needs to play to a draw and then hope Portugal perhaps loses its final game with Brazil (assuming a win over North Korea). The team obeyed Eriksson to defend in numbers and deny Portugal opportunities and till have to do so again. Only one African team managed to get a win in the first round of games. The good news is Eriksson has led his teams to the quarters the past two World Cups.
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