2010 FIFA World Cup: Brazil Draw The Group Of Death Or Do They?

Brazilian Football by SBSenior Analyst IDecember 13, 2009

The 2010 edition of the FIFA World Cup is just around the corner and Brazil have been placed in group G along with North Korea, Ivory Coast and Portugal.

To many observers group G certainly seems to be the group of death as apart from the Samba Boys, we have Ivory Coast led by the prolific goalscorer Didier Drogba, a relatively unknown adversary in the shape of North Korea and Portugal with their media sensation Cristiano Ronaldo.

A lot of fire power packed into one group but put under the microscope we see that things are actually rosy for the Seleção, who are in South Africa to win the cup and not just get past the group stage.

The location is ideal. Brazil will play two matches in Johannesburg, then travel for just one match, only to return to Johannesburg for the next stage.

Topping the group guarantees this return to "home turf" so Dunga has already made it clear that this is an obvious objective.

Even before the draw it was widely publicized that Brazil was very interested in group G because of the reduced travelling between matches throughout the tournament, and as luck would have it, so it turned out.

Coach Dunga has had very little to say about the Ivory Coast and perhaps with good reason. They are a powerful African nation playing on African soil and without a doubt Brazil's biggest adversary in this group.

Led by one of the finest strikers in the world, Didier Drogba, Ivory Coast should send this message home early after their initial clash with Portugal, confirming that which Dunga is already very aware of.

Respect is called for but not fear, as one or two top players and a virtual home advantage, still should not be enough to beat a motivated, well structured Brazil which has flattened all comers in the last couple of years under Dunga, in every corner of the globe.

Strangely enough, North Korea was the first country's name to be uttered by Dunga immediately after the draw. The lack of information on this team worries the Seleção top dog.

This might have something to do with a strange track record in which teams like Venezuela and Bolivia have secured victories against the same Dunga machine which has twice flattened Italy, Argentina and beat Portugal to a pulp in recent times.

Which indeed brings us to the other member of the group, Portugal.

Dunga simply dismissed Portugal as a Brazil B side. This gesture may have angered some, the likes of Figo who condemned the comment.

However with Pepe, Deco and their World Cup life saver Liedson, it's hard to argue that this isn't indeed a very Brazilianized team.

Portugal do posses some class in the form of their poster boy Cristiano Ronaldo. However the major drawback to his presence is that the World Cup will be played in real time.

You see slow motion effects are usually needed to make this lad look dangerous.

Seriously speaking, Portugal, who struggled to qualify for the World Cup, should pose no more of a threat for the Seleção as they did in the last meeting of these two teams which ended in a convincing 6-2 spanking for the Lusitano.

Kaka completely outshone his Real Madrid counterpart on that occasion and I see no reason to believe that a South Africa 2010 clash will produce a different result.

Apart from the favourable venue, reduced travel and beatable but worthy adversaries, there is another wonderful subtlety to the Brazil draw which analyst/commentator ex-Seleção, Walter Casagrande, was quick to point out.

Portugal and Ivory Coast are beatable but yet very worthy opponents. A broader look at the tournament would suggest that it is better to meet either one in the group stages where a surprise of any kind can still be overturned with other results.

Also attitude and approach of these teams in the group stage may be totally different to that in the knockout stages.

The second placed team in group G will play Spain, the probable winners of the easy group H.

So while Spain may have it easy in the first group stages, they could find themselves playing against a super motivated Portugal fresh off a Brazil defeat or a fired up Ivory Coast, in their first knockout match.

In the meantime Brazil will be locking horns with the second place in Spain's weak group H and theoretically cruising on to greener pastures.

Casagrande's logic is based on the question: Would you rather meet Ivory Coast in the opening stages where a draw would suffice or in the next round where someone must die? The same goes for Portugal.

It's going to be a whole other Ivory Coast versus Spain compared to the tame defensive version which met Brazil. This is a subtlety of the draw which must be considered when the big picture is taken into account.

A closer look at how the Confederations Cup draws and results went for both Spain and Brazil may give weight to this line of thinking. Special attention must also be paid to the USA and how they played differently in stages of the competition.

Mysteriously, Spain also got an easy group stage draw in that tournament.

However, the thing that makes football the greatest sport on earth is its unpredictability.

North Korea may end up coming in second to Ivory Coast in group G sending all the pundits back to their drawing boards. That's the beauty of it.