Special Event:
Soccer Extras
More Soccer
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 Cup.

"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


World Cup News
· Messi wins Golden Ball, Rodriguez claims Golden Boot

· The 2014 World Cup All-Tournament Team

· Gotze's late winner lifts Germany past Argentina in final

More News