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Categorie G

The favourites
Brazil: The record five-time world champions have regained their unique, irresistible groove under Dunga's tutelage. They will head to South Africa as the Copa America and FIFA Confederations Cup holders as well as the top-ranked in South American qualifying. In Julio Cesar, Brazil have one of the game's best goalkeepers; in Kaka, they have one of its best players. With the likes of Maicon, Robinho and Luis Fabiano complementing them, A Seleção will kick off this examining section as the team to beat.

Portugal: Carlos Queiroz's side may have only scraped through to the finals via a play-off victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina, but the Africa-born coach has copious talent at his disposal. Much of it will come from Cristiano Ronaldo, a player capable of swinging any match. The likely presence in the Portugal squad of Brazil-born players Pepe, Deco and Liedson will be an intriguing subplot to the meeting between A Selecção das Quinas and A Seleção.

The outsiders
Côte d'Ivoire: The Ivorians proved themselves a force to be reckoned with at Germany 2006, when they gave Argentina and the Netherlands serious cause for concern in narrow defeats, before returning home on a high following a defeat of Serbia and Montenegro. The Elephants have, indubitably, come on leaps and bounds since. With the likes of Kolo Toure, his brother Yaya, Solomon Kalou and hulking forward Drogba they coasted through to South Africa 2010 without a single defeat and will look to cement their reputation as a formidable side by reaching the knockout phase.

Korea DPR: The Chollima caused a major shock simply by qualifying for South Africa. They will need a significantly bigger one to reach the Round of 16. Belying the odds is not, however, alien to the North Koreans, who pulled off one of the most colossal upsets in FIFA World Cup history by beating Italy 1-0 en route to the quarter-finals in 1966, where they lost 5-3 to Portugal in a thrilling game. Prolific forward Jong Tae-Se appears to be Korea DPR's best hope of stunning the football world once again.

The players to watch
Kaka (BRA), Luis Fabiano (BRA), Cristiano Ronaldo (POR), Liedson (POR), Didier Drogba (CIV), Jong Tae-Se (PRK)

 

 

 

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