World Cup Odds and Picks: North Korea Vs. Ivory Coast Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 6/24/2010
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Go ahead and disregard North Korea’s chances in this match Friday as it enters off the biggest rout of the tournament, a 7-0 beat down by Portugal. Unfortunately for the Ivory Coast, that definitive Portuguese win pretty much means that the Elephants won’t advance in Group G.
Brazil leads the group with six points, while Portugal has four. The Ivory Coast, which tied Portugal 0-0 in its opener and lost 3-1 to Brazil, needs a miracle as it must crush the North Koreans, the lowest-ranked team in the tournament, and hope that Brazil does the same to Portugal – the same Brazil side that already has clinched a spot in the knockout round and simply needs a draw to win the group. Portugal’s goal differential is at +7 while the Ivory Coast is obviously -2.
That North Korea loss was so lopsided that there have been rumors the players will be “punished” when they return to their nation. Coach Kim Jong-hun took the blame, saying his tactics against the high-scoring Portuguese were wrong. It was the biggest defeat in the World Cup since Germany beat Saudi Arabia 8-0 in 2002 and third largest in the last nine World Cups (35 years).
“Our players I think played to their full potential but tactically speaking it fell apart and we could not block their attacks and that's why they scored so many goals," Kim said in published reports. "As they game went on, Portugal became more aggressive and after we conceded the first goal, the desire and wish to equalize led to my team's collapse."
The Ivory Coast has clearly been hampered by Didier Drogba’s fractured arm in a warm-up match. He did play the full match against Brazil after entering as a sub against Portugal and did score the lone goal, but he’s clearly not in full form.
"We can tell he is still not 100 percent fit,” the Elephants’ Souleymane Bamba said. "We can see he is not going into challenges as strongly now because he's scared to feel his arm again but his goal against Brazil will give him confidence."
There’s still a chance that FIFA will keep the Ivory Coast’s Kader Keita from this match after he took an obvious dive in the loss to Brazil, resulting in a second yellow card for Brazilian star Kaka – those cards will stand but FIFA is investigating as replays showed that not only was any contact from Kaka to Keita slight but that it didn’t go anywhere near Keita’s face, yet he went down like he was shot.
The Ivory Coast is all or nothing all-time against Asian opponents, winning four matches and losing three. North Korea has won just one of six meetings with African sides in its history. But this will be the first time the Ivory Coast has met an Asian side or North Korea an African side in the World Cup. North Korea actually is on an eight-match winless streak in international play (two draws).
Ivory Coast vs. North Korea World Cup Odds:
North Korea is the underdog at +1.5 to win (-140) and the Ivory Coast -1.5 (+110). If you wager with the draw, the odds are North Korea at +800 to win straight up, Ivory Coast at -300 and a draw at +375. The total is 2.5, with the over a -125 favorite. Odds are courtesy of Bodog and Sports Interaction.
Ivory Coast vs. North Korea Picks and Predictions:
Ivory Coast will win if: I think there’s little doubt the Elephants do win, as it is a proud nation and will want at least one victory in this first World Cup in Africa. Plus the Ivorians obviously have to try and score about five goals to have any realistic hope to catch Portugal in the goal differential. Thus the over is a favorite on the total here – and the over being favored is incredibly rare of late in this low-scoring World Cup.
North Korea will win if: Its players don’t want to be sent to work camps. I’m not sure I’m kidding here. North Korea should have some chances, to be sure, because the Ivory Coast will be sending everyone in an attacking formation.
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