Pre-game: Ivory Coast vs. Portugal
Day 5, Match 2
Ivory Coast vs. Portugal, Group G
Date and Location
June 15, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Live on CBC and CBCSports.ca (9:30 am ET). Consult CBC’s full broadcast schedule
Watch the Rogers Pre-game show 30 minutes before kick-off as our panel of soccer experts provide up-to-the-minute news from South Africa on this match.
To watch the show, CLICK HERE
What's at stake
Where do we begin? Both sides are dark horse contenders for the trophy, with many people pegging African World Cup hopes on Les Elephants, while a Cristiano Ronaldo-led Portugal is coming into the tournament ranked third in the world. A loss here by either side would mean almost certain elimination with a match against Brazil coming up.
Injuries and suspensions
Star striker Didier Drogba recently had an operation to repair his broken arm but will play against Portugal.
Player to watch for Ivory Coast
Didier Drogba — Monumentally revered and respected in his home country, the 31-year-old is a beast in the air and one of the best centre forwards in the world. The Ivorian captain scored 29 goals for Chelsea to top the English Premier League this season. How important is this World Cup, the first to be held on African soil, to Drogba? He's going to play with a broken arm.
Player to watch for Portugal
Cristiano Ronaldo — By far the most recognizable active footballer on the planet, Ronaldo's a wizard with the ball at his feet, confounding defenders with his dribbling skill. His thundering shot and passing touch make him a major danger during set-pieces, but he didn't score for the national team during the entire qualifying campaign.
Paulo Ferreira & Ricardo Carvalho vs. Salomon Kalou & Drogba — The two Portuguese defenders know the Ivorian strike duo well; all four are teammates at English champion Chelsea. The game might come down to which two were paying more attention on the London training ground.
"We have a lot of respect for all the teams, but I think the others have a lot of respect for us as well. We have a good team and a lot of good football players." — coach Sven-Goran Eriksson
"We know all about Drogba; he is a world-class player. We know the Ivory Coast have special players in their team, but we have to think about the overall team, not just an individual." — defender Bruno Alves
World Cup head-to-head
This will be the two sides' first match against each other at the World Cup.