FIFA World Cup 2010 – Portugal Vs Brazil Preview

FIFA World Cup 2010 – Portugal Vs Brazil Preview

The group G match to be played between Brazil and Portugal is arguably the best clash of the group stage, of this World Cup. The last time these teams met in a World Cup, Portugal prevailed, 3-1.

Portugal squashed North Korea 7-0, less than a week after the Koreans had given the Brazilians a run for their money. After Portugal’s dull draw with Ivory Coast, coach Carlos Queiroz brought in Simao for Danny on the left flank, and Hugo Almeida in place of Liedson. At half-time, the Portuguese led by Raul Meireles’ solitary goal. After Simao made it 2-0 in the 53rd minute, the floodgates opened, with Tiago getting a couple, and Cristiano Ronaldo getting one, to end his 17-month long goal draught.

Brazil are already through to the round of 16, and Portugal can only fail to qualify, themselves, if they contrive to lose to Brazil and Ivory Coast get the better of New Zealand by a mammoth margin. The leader of the group will avoid meeting favourites Spain in the round of 16; that’s an incentive for Portugal to try and beat Brazil on Friday.

Brazil had a brilliant game against Ivory Coast, Fabiano getting a brace of goals and Elano the third in a 3-1 victory. Kaka will miss the next match, having been red-carded, but with qualification worries out of the way, Brazil shouldn’t lose any sleep over Kaka’s imminent absence in the Portugal match.

Dunga’s Brazil has a settled look about it. Every man knows what is expected of him and fulfills it. Dunga knows what it is to win a World Cup, having led Brazil to victory, as a player, in 1994. The team will surely gain from having Dunga as coach.

Brazil’s left back Michel Bastos will be up against Cristiano Ronaldo who is not likely to give Bastos any breathing time; Bastos must on the night forget about joining the attack as has been his wont, reminiscent of Roberto Carlos.

Portugal’s Carvalho will have the onerous task of denying Fabiano a sniff of the Portuguese goal. Fabiano has several weapons to choose from, not least his physical stature. His dribbling skills and opportunism are a bonus. Carvalho while not in the same physical class as Fabiano, is a battle scarred veteran and unlikely to shrink from the challenge.

No change is likely in the Portugal team from the squad that hammered North Korea. The looming threat posed by the presence of Brazil’s Robinho and Elano will help temper Portugal backs Miguel and Coentrao’s penchant for going forward. Cristiano Ronaldo and Simao will run down the wings while looking for every chance to run in and accompany Hugo Almeida. in attack. Portugal will also rely on the ability of Raul Meireles and Tiago  to run forward,while marshalling the midfield.

Julio Baptista could replace Kaka as an attacking midfielder, while Gilberto and Felipe Melowill could act as midfield protection to the four defenders. Brazil may also choose to have Elano in the centre with Nimar or Dani Alves on the right flank.

Expect this to be a hard fought encounter that’s eventually dominated by the team with greater attacking flair, Brazil.