Brazil faces Ivory Coast trying to reach 2nd round | sports | Hindustan Times
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Brazil faces Ivory Coast trying to reach 2nd round

sports Updated: Jun 19, 2010 12:20 IST
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Brazil will face the Ivory Coast on Sunday with a chance to reach the second round of the World Cup with a game to spare in Group G.

A victory against the Ivory Coast will be enough for Brazil to advance ahead of its last group match against Portugal on June 25. The Ivory Coast needs to beat Brazil to get into a good position to move on, or at least hold the five-time champions to a draw to keep its hopes alive before playing North Korea in its final match.

"We gained confidence with the first victory and we need another one now to guarantee a place in the next round," Brazil striker Nilmar said. "We can do it in advance, so we need to try to go for it."

Brazil began the World Cup with a hard-fought 2-1 win over the lowly ranked North Korea on Tuesday in Johannesburg, while the Ivory Coast was held to a scoreless draw with Portugal in Port Elizabeth.

"If we defend well, we should be able to get a good result," Ivory Coast defender Emmanuel Eboue said. "(Brazil is) a great team, everybody knows this, but this motivates us and again we have to play at our best."

It was unclear whether Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba was going to start on Sunday at Soccer City Stadium, but coach Sven-Goran Eriksson hinted the Chelsea striker could be in the starting lineup. Drogba broke his right arm in a warmup ahead of the World Cup, but he underwent surgery and came off the bench to play more than 20 minutes against Portugal.

"Every player feels very, very well and we've got confidence in ourselves," Eboue said. "If Drogba plays, it will be very great for us."

The Brazilians are hoping Ivory Coast will not stay back on defense from the start on Sunday, creating the same problems that the defensive-minded North Korean caused in the opener. Brazil struggled to come up with scoring opportunities and needed second-half goals to earn the victory at Ellis Park.

"Ivory Coast will come out playing more offensively and that should give us some openings," Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar said. "It's harder for us if a team plays only thinking about defending and not about attacking."