World Cup capsules for US-Slovenia, England-Algeria, Germany-Serbia

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Friday’s WCup lookahead capsules

Capsules for Friday’s matches at the World Cup (FIFA rankings in parentheses):

Portugal (3) vs. Brazil (1), 10 a.m.
Group G

Brazil already has advanced and a draw wins the group. Portugal would win the group with a victory.

Portugal: Coming off a 7-0 romp over North Korea, Portugal’s offense has awakened thanks to Tiago, Cristiano Ronaldo and Simao.

Brazil: Playmaker Kaka is suspended for the match, meaning more scoring creativity must come from strikers Robinho and Luis Fabiano, who had two goals against Ivory Coast.

Notable Fact: A matchup worthy of the later rounds, with a strong political history: Brazil once was a Portuguese colony.

North Korea (10) vs. Ivory Coast (27), 10 a.m.
Group G

North Korea has been eliminated and Ivory Coast needs a huge victory plus Brazil routing Portgual for a chance to advance.

North Korea: The 2010 tournament has been a far cry from the North Koreans’ last appearance, in 1966, when they made the quarterfinals after upsetting Italy.

Ivory Coast: The Ivorians have lacked scoring touch, no doubt in great part because standout striker Didier Drogba has been playing with a broken right arm.

Notable Fact: The 7-0 loss to Portugal was the first North Korea game abroad to be aired live prime-time on state TV in the isolated country.

Spain (2) vs. Chile (18), 2:30 p.m.
Group H

A victory is almost a must for European champion Spain, which has three points. Chile has been dynamic in winning twice, but a defeat could eliminate it if Switzerland also wins.

Spain: The flair and offensive flow that carried the Spaniards to the 2008 Euro title has appeared only occasionally here. Getting midfield star Andres Iniesta healthy would help.

Chile: In wins over the Swiss and Hondurans, the Chileans have displayed opportunistic offense and have not yielded a goal.

Notable Fact: A rare three-way tie at the top of the group with six points is possible, leaving everything to tiebreakers.

Switzerland (24) vs. Honduras (38), 2:30 p.m.
Group H

The Swiss can still top the group — or finish rock bottom. But the path at least is clear: beat Honduras by two goals and the Swiss are through to the knockout round.

Switzerland: Switzerland qualified for the knockout stage of the World Cup in Germany four years ago, losing to Ukraine on penalty kicks after a 0-0 draw in the round of 16.

Honduras: After making the tournament in the final moments of qualifying, the Hondurans have been disappointing and have yet to find the net.

Notable Fact: The Swiss set a World Cup record of 559 consecutive minutes without conceding a goal before Chile’s winner in their last match.

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