World Cup Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, June 21, 2010
(All times Eastern)
Portugal (0-0-1) vs. North Korea (0-1-0), 7:30 a.m.
Cape Town, South Africa (Sports Network) - Portugal may be the third-ranked
team in the world according to FIFA, but it should expect to get a battle from
North Korea on Monday at Green Point Stadium in its second Group G contest.
Portugal settled for a 0-0 tie against the Ivory Coast in its opener, and with
a game against mighty Brazil still to play, three points are a must for Carlos
Queiroz's team if they want to have a real chance at advancing in the World
"We'll have to play higher up the pitch against the North Koreans and take
more risks because we need a victory," Queiroz said. "Obviously we can't
afford to play the way we did in our last match. We got a point against a very
strong team and now we'll approach the next game with a clear goal: to win."
In order for Portugal to look better in attack, the play of Cristiano Ronaldo
must improve after a string of disappointing efforts for the national team.
Ronaldo failed to score in any of the seven World Cup qualifiers he played in
for his team, and although he created the best chance of the match with a
brilliant long-range effort that crashed off the post, he must find his form
for Portugal to have success.
He won't get any help from veteran midfielder Deco, who will miss the match
with a hip injury, which could open the door for Atletico Madrid midfielder
Simao Sabrosa to find his way into the starting lineup after he was
surprisingly left on the bench to start the last match.
However, a win is anything but a sure thing for Portugal after the North
Koreans gave Brazil all it could handle in its opening match. Brazil edged the
North Koreans 2-1.
The match was scoreless through halftime until Brazil found a pair of goals in
the second half, with a late consolation strike from Ji Yun Nam making the
final score look good.
The Asian side is very disciplined in defense and they may be able to
frustrate the Portuguese into making mistakes, which could allow them to grab
the point they need to stay in contention.
Brazil sits atop the group with six points after its 3-1 win over the Ivory
Coast on Sunday, meaning that Portugal can take over the second spot in the
group and put itself in a good position to advance if it can get past the
stubborn North Koreans.
06/20 16:36:22 ET