Five-time winners Brazil are looking for a much-improved World Cup performance against the Ivory Coast today having failed to impress in their opening win over North Korea.
A wonder goal by right-back Maicon and a late strike from Elano were all Dunga’s side had to show for 90 minutes against the defence of the North Koreans who grabbed a late consolation goal through Ji Yun-Nam. Dunga admitted he was unimpressed with his side’s 2-1 victory and is looking for an improved display against Ivory Coast with Chelsea star Didier Drogba expected to play despite a broken arm.
Midfielder Julio Baptista says he expects the Ivory Coast to give Brazil their toughest test before the knock-out phase between two sides who love to attack. “This will be our most difficult game because of the way the Ivory Coast play,” said Baptista.
Brazil midfielder Gilberto Silva said the team expects a tough ride from their opposing side who held Portugal to a goalless draw in their opening game.
“We’ll be expecting a lot of difficulties against them. But we’re confident that we can do well,” said Silva.
Coach Sven-Goran Eriksson has said that “it wouldn’t be surprising” if captain Drogba started against the Brazilians after the Chelsea ace came on as a substitute against Portugal with his broken arm. But Brazil face a tough battle with or without him in the team.
Ivory Coast striker Salomon Kalou says his side needs to ‘annoy’ Brazil without letting them play their natural attacking game.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 20th, 2010.