What: FIFA 2010 World Cup
Who: Ivory Coast vs North Korea (Group G)
When: Friday 25th June, 2010, at 15:00 UK Time
Where: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit, South Africa

Elephants Have to Attack

The Ivory Coast have been extremely conservative in their approach so far, a strategy which has yielded just one point from their two matches and has left Sven-Goran Eriksson’s side on the brink of being knocked out at the group stage. Were that to happen it would be the second World Cup in a row that the knockout stages have not been reached, and a source of great disappointment for the Ivory Coast.

Portugal’s 7-0 drubbing of North Korea has left Carlos Queiroz’s side in a commanding position. Os Navegadores have a far superior goal difference – plus nine – over the Elephants, and lie three points ahead of their African rivals. It would take something spectacular for the Ivory Coast to turn the tables on Portugal, so they must aim to run riot against the North Koreans.

North Korea Playing for Pride

After a valiant display against Brazil in their opening game, North Korea entered their match with Portugal full of confidence, with the match being broadcast live in their secretive homeland. Unfortunately for the Koreans, this confidence quickly evaporated as Cristiano Ronaldo and his team-mates turned on the style and ran out comfortable winners.

The Asian side’s hopes of qualifying from the group stage have vanished, but they have one final appearance on the world stage. Will they be able to restore some pride before their return to Pyongyang?

Recent form

Ivory Coast:
Japan 0-2 Ivory Coast (04/06; Friendly)
Portugal 0-0 Ivory Coast (15/06; World Cup – Group G)
Brazil 3-1 Ivory Coast (20/06; World Cup – Group G)

North Korea:
Nigeria 3-1 North Korea (06/06; Friendly)
Brazil 2-1 North Korea (15/06; World Cup – Group G)
Portugal 7-0 North Korea (21/06; World Cup – Group G)

Players to watch

Ivory Coast – Gervinho: The Ivorian with a Brazilian nickname impressed in the Elephants’ opening goalless draw with Portugal and was surprisingly omitted from the Ivory Coast’s starting eleven against Brazil. When he came on as a second-half substitute against the Samba Kings, Gervinho made an immediate impact as the Elephants attempted to get back into the game. It would be unthinkable for Sven-Goran Eriksson to leave out the Lille player again as the Ivory Coast have to go for goals if they are to have any chance of progressing to the knockout stage.

North Korea – Ri Myung Guk: North Korea’s goalkeeper endured a nightmare afternoon against Portugal as he was forced to pick the ball out of his net on seven occasions after Os Navegadores ran riot. Myung Guk will be hoping for a more comfortable time against the Elephants and will be crucial to the Koreans hopes of a respectable scoreline.

Match prediction

The Ivory Coast simply have to go for broke in this game. Like Portugal, the West African side have an array of attacking talent at their disposal and possess the ability to score goals against a fragile North Korean defence. Expect a comfortable victory for the Elephants, but it won’t be enough to see them progress at the expense of Portugal.

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