Ivory Coast vs Portugal – betting tips and match preview

World Cup BettingIvory Coast will play Portugal today at 15:00 BST at Port Elizabeth in their first match at the 2010 World Cup. Named the “Group of Death” with Ivory Coast, Portugal and Brazil drawn together, many football fans have been looking forward to this first clash in group F and especially the clash between superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Didier Drogba.

Match Preview

It was a big shock for the Ivory Coast, when their captain Didier Drogba was injured during warm-up, which must have caused new coach Sven-Goran Eriksson a lot of headaches in the last weeks. Of cause the Elephants’ does not lack other star players, but none are of the same caliber as their target man. On top their play has been far from great during preparation, which has lead to accusations against the players of putting their clubs before their country. With only one victory against Japan in four warm-up matches, it will be a hard task for Eriksson to get things together in a short time space and leaves a big question mark before their match today.
On the other hand Portugal have been during well lately and not lost in 20 months. This said they only finished second in their qualifying group and the statistic really does not tell the whole story. Especially their attack has been lacking quality and has received a lot of criticism. The main focus has been on Cristiano Ronaldo, who has failed, when playing for his home country and not scored since early 2009. Their last two preparation games did give some hope though with a 3-0 victory against Mozambique and 3-1 against Cameroon.

Team updates

For the Ivory Coast all focus has been on Didier Drogba and his broken bone. Currently it is said, he is allowed to play with a cast, which mean he might be playing alongside Salomon Kalou today. If not he will likely be replaced with Seydou Doumbia and although he is a competent player, it will be a major loss.
Portugal will likely be without important midfielder Pepe, who was injured against Mozambique and must settle with the bench today. After Nani’s injury and departure from Portugal’s squad, it is expected Simao will be ready for today’s match, but he is still troubled by a minor knee injury.
Ivory Coast vs Portugal betting tips

Our betting tip will be to back Portugal in this match at odds 2.28 at Betfair.
The two sides have never played each other before, which leaves only their current form to decide. Based on their latest results and the fact that Didier Drogba will not be fully fit for the match, we have picked Portugal to win. Although it does look to be close match, they have not lost in 20 months and seem to have less internal problems within the squad. This said it will likely be a small victory within a one goal difference.

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