Throughout their glittering FIFA World Cup™ history, Brazil have never lost to a team from outside South America or Europe, a record they will put to the test against Côte d'Ivoire in Johannesburg on Sunday evening. Victory for Dunga's side will secure them a place in the next round, but with Didier Drogba having recovered from his elbow injury, achieving that will be easier said than done. After drawing 0-0 with Portugal in their Group G opener, the Elephants can ill afford to lose.
Brazil-Côte d’Ivoire, Group G, Soccer City, Johannesburg, Sunday 20 June, 20.30
Much vaunted for their attacking firepower, Brazil and Côte d’Ivoire were both involved in largely low-key opening games. Brazil spent most of their meeting with Korea DPR trying to find their way through the well-drilled Chollima defence, while the Ivorians were frustrated by Portugal in a match in which the defences held sway throughout. Having worked off their debut nerves, however, and with the Round of 16 beckoning, the two sides ought to serve up an entertaining encounter. With the likes of Drogba, Luis Fabiano, Salomon Kalou and Robinho on duty, another defensive spectacle is unlikely.
Players to watch
Lucio v Didier Drogba
The Elephants' centre-forward had an excellent season with club side Chelsea, playing a leading role in their English Premier League and FA Cup double success by hitting a total of 44 goals in 52 games. The only blemish on the Blues' season came when they were eliminated by Inter Milan in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League. That tie featured a fascinating duel between the inspirational Drogba and Inter bulwark Lucio, one that was edged by the Brazilian and that will be renewed on Sunday night. Inter's 3-1 aggregate win was one of the high points of their run to the continental club title but. having enjoyed a late run-out against the Portuguese, Drogba will be relishing the chance to exact revenge.
6 - The number of consecutive wins that Brazil have strung together, just one short of Argentina's current run of seven straight victories. The last time they failed to win was in October 2009 when, having already secured qualification, they fielded a weakened side in a qualifier against Bolivia and lost 2-1. Prior to that match, Dunga's charges had won 11 on the trot.
What they said
"Côte d'Ivoire are physically very strong but I think the fact they drew their first game will work in our favour. They need to go out and get a result and it will be a totally different game to our opening match against Korea DPR, who just wanted to defend and hit on the counter. I think Côte d’Ivoire will come out and play more," Julio Cesar, Brazil goalkeeper.
"I have a lot of respect for Brazil. They are one of the best teams in the world without question, but I'm not scared of them. I have some top-class players who bear comparison with any team in the world. Discipline and cohesion will be vital. That's the way to beat Brazil," Sven-Goran Eriksson, Côte d’Ivoire coach.
The voice of the fans
"Côte d’Ivoire have their strengths and they're a team with plenty of pedigree. Even though Drogba isn't fully fit, they'll have their chances. I'm banking on them. May the best team win," RasLeo, FIFA.com user.
Have your say
Can Brazil book their place in the next round at the expense of the Ivorians?