What do Goal.com's experts from Brazil, Portugal, the Ivory Coast, and North Korea say?
So how confident are Brazil, Portugal, the Ivory Coast, and North Korea about their respective chances of advancing from Group A? Goal.com asked our local experts for each of the nations to give us their own unique take:
Are you happy with the draw. Why or why not?
Andre Baibich - Brazil: I'm happy with the draw, although Brazil will face some very strong teams. Those are exactly the occasions in which Dunga's men tend to rise their game and play better. Brazil had it's most unimpressive performances against weak teams such as Bolivia and Venezuela.
Luis Mira - Portugal: What do you think? This is the Group of Death, without question. Brazil need no introduction, the Ivory Coast's firepower is known around the world, and even North Korea have extremely fond memories against us. Facing the Brazilians on June 25th in a game that could make or break our entire tournament is almost too much.
Massaer Ndiaye - Ivory Coast: As I said before, Brazil was a dream draw for Cote d'Ivoire as the Selecao is the surrogate team for most African countries once their team gets knocked off. And in Cote d'Ivoire, people tend to give skilled players Brazilian sounding names (i.e: Gervinho). But to be in the obvious "group of death" will make it a very difficult task to go through to the round of sixteen. It is reminiscent of the 2006 World Cup in Germany where the Elephants drew the Netherlands and Argentina. Two European heavyweights and an unknown team will force Didier Drogba's teammates to play against their nature and force results.
An Yong-hak - North Korea: When I saw we got into Group G, I smiled a bitter smile. I had said before that I want to play against the big teams cause there ire no weak teams in the World Cup. But I'm excited that we will play against Brazil, Portugal and Cote d'Ivoire. How can we play against these kinds of teams except at the World Cup?
What will the final standing be?
Andre Baibich - Brazil: I think Brazil will come out on top, with Cote d'Ivoire in second, Portugal in third and North Korea fourth.
Luis Mira - Portugal: I hope that we'll go in second behind Brazil. On our way, we can oust the Ivory Coast, and North Korea really should not pose a problem. So I'll say Brazil, Portugal, then Ivory Coast, and the DPRK a long way back.
Massaer Ndiaye - Ivory Coast: Brazil have been incredibly impressive lately and will be expected to top the group with their armada of superstars. Cote d'Ivoire in my opinion will be able to beat Portugal and North Korea for the second qualifying spot. The Portuguese will edge out North Korea though, naturally.
Who is the top player in the group?
Andre Baibich - Brazil: Although Cristiano Ronaldo would be the obvious choice, I'd bet on big performances by Didier Drogba in this World Cup. The centre-forward will certainly be hungry to help his team advance to the next round.
Luis Mira - Portugal: At least this is a category we win. It's Cristiano Ronaldo, of course. Didier Drogba and Luis Fabiano, Maicon and Kolo Toure, they all have their supporters, but the solo exploits of CR9 could be our saving grace. If Ronaldo stays fit and can find form, we could pull off a surprise here.
Massaer Ndiaye - Ivory Coast: With a lot of individualities and many skilled players, taking a pick is obviously difficult but the strongest player is Cristiano Ronaldo. Even if the Real Madrid player has never been as impressive with his country as he was with Manchester United, he has reached the type of maturity in his style of play and the necessary freedom to shine with Portugal. He will have to eat some humble pie, put his ego aside and gather his team around his leadership the way his forefathers Luis Figo and Rui Costa did for the good of the country.