Brazil — No Ronaldinho. No Pato. Heck Brazil’s ‘B’ team could probably make the quarterfinals.
Ivory Coast — The arm/elbow injury to Drogba is an able excuse. But will the others pick up the slack?
North Korea — Foreigners won’t be able to interview ’em. Fans at home won’t be able to watch ’em live.
Portugal — A disappointment in qualifying and lost the dynamic Nani to injury. Very hot and cold.
Player to watch: Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal (wants to get back into that ‘best in the world’ discussion)
Big game: Brazil v. Portugal, June 25, 7 a.m. PT (will it be as good as that one Nike ad from way back?)
Prediction: Many are calling this the Group of Death, despite North Korea being perhaps the worst team in the field. The Drogba injury has marred this one a bit, and could have paved the way for the other two top teams to advance. Ivory Coast still has above-average talent without him though, and don’t rule out a Willis Reed-like comeback.
1. Brazil 7 pts.
2. Portugal 6 pts.
3. Ivory Coast 4 pts.
4. North Korea 0 pts.