Portugal vs. Ivory Coast Betting
Portugal is the favorite in the opening Group of Death match against the Ivory Coast, but the Elephants recently got some good news, as it looks as if Chelsea striker Didier Drogba will be playing even after recently fracturing his arm.
Ivory Coast vs. Portugal Odds Preview - Current Match Odds
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Bovada has Portugal as the favorite in this match posted at Even with Ivory Coast at +260 with a draw at +230 with a goal total of 2.5.
This is each team’s opening match and it may be vital, as if either team loses they will likely have to beat Brazil to advance to the knockout phase.
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Portugal was the 2006 World Cup semifinalist and even thought they have the best strikers in the world in Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid their strength is their stingy defense.
Ronaldo will have to shoulder more of the offensive load in South Africa, as Portugal lost his starting striker mate Nani before the World Cup with a collarbone injury.
The loss of Didier Drogba of Chelsea was a huge blow to the Elephants, as Ivory Coast soccer team is known as, but he recently returned to training and looks to start in this match. Even without Drogba the strength of the Ivory Coast is their offense with such players as Salomon Kalou, Gervinho, Aruna Dindane, Amara Diane, and Bakari Kone.
Portugal’s defense is solid led by the defenders of Bruno Alves and Ricardo Carvalho and MF Pepe is great at dropping back and helping out on defense and starting the counter-attack.
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The Elephants do not have the strong defense that Portugal does so they will have to control the ball in the midfield and not allow Portugal to push up the field the entire match. They also have some chemistry issues, as they had several intra-squad fights during World Cup qualifying, so they will have to play well as a team and trust each other on the pitch.
Since Ivory Coast will depend on the their offense to win Portugal will have to take advantage of the counter-attacking opportunities they get. Pepe may be the man to watch, as he is great at turning defense into offense and setting up the attack.
Ronaldo did not score in qualifying, but he was dealing with injuries and now that he is 100% healthy he will have to pressure the Elephants in this match.
Look for a low scoring match, but for Portugal to score a goal or two off the counter-attack, as they will win this important Group of Death match.
In other matches on Tuesday Slovakia faces New Zealand and Brazil takes on North Korea. For match up reports on these games, as well as others YOU CAN FIND MATCHUP TRENDS AND STATS HERE.