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World Cup Free Picks – Ivory Coast vs. Portugal Line

Ivory Coast vs Portugal World Cup 2010 Betting Picks + Odds

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Group G Gambling Predictions

Matchup: Portugal v Côte d’Ivoire
Date: Saturday, June 15, 2010
Time: 9:30 PM EST
Venue: Port Elizabeth
TV: ESPN (In USA)

World Cup Fixture Odds: Ivory Coast +270 / Portugal EVEN / Draw +225

The so-called “group of death” will be one of the most widely watched of the first round with these two sides and Brazil all competing for just two places in the knockout stage. The Ivory Coast is strongly favored among the African teams, despite being drawn in the tournament’s hardest group.

Portugal, who also have a notoriously strong team, are ranked ninth just behind France to win it all.

This is just the second appearance in the World Cup for the Ivory Coast. In 2006 they played relatively well but went out in the first round against stiff competition. They hold a reputation as a powerhouse, having lost only one match in qualifying.

This year luck seemed to be on their side, facing a Portugal side that appears to be struggling a bit heading into this year’s competition. But that luck ran out when striker Didier Drogba, went down with a broken arm during a collision with defender Marcus Tulio Tanaka in a friendly against Japan just one week before the start of the tournament.

The injury may have broken the back of the continent’s best chance of winning the tournament, let alone getting out of the group stage.  Drogba is seen as vital to coach Sven Goran Eriksson’s plans, especially as Ivory Coast has been drawn in alongside Brazil, Portugal and North Korea. Now the squad must find a way to work as a team rather than relying on a solo player.

Their downfall may be a lack of cohesion.

Expectations are high for Portugal, having delivered world-class performances during recent years.

They reached the finals at EURO 2004 and the semi-finals at Germany 2006. After only winning one of their first five matches, they beat Bosnia to make it through the playoffs, and scored eight goals in the second half of qualification. But luck has been against them. Cristiano Ronaldo’s injuries forced them into a survival mode and praying for a miracle.

They struggle without Ronaldo, but still have one of the better squads around with or without him. They are brimming with world-class talents in midfield stars Deco, Simao and Pepe, along with defensive talisman Ricardo Carvalho, and Paulo Ferreira of Chelsea Fame.

If Ronaldo is 100 percent, this could be a very one-sided match.

The complexion of this game has changed a bit since Drogba’s injury, but should still be a fun one to watch.

Because both sides can score a lot of goals, this could be a high score line. For this reason, the prediction, which is a tentative depending on the fitness of Ronaldo and Drogba, is 3-2 Portugal.

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Matt Martz is a sportswriter for the Bakersfield Californian located in Central California.

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