Portugal midfielder Deco is hoping for a FIFA World Cup™ reunion with Chelsea team-mate Didier Drogba in Port Elizabeth tomorrow. However, the Côte d'Ivoire striker is facing a race against time to recover from the broken arm he suffered in the run-up to the finals, and the Africans are playing their cards close to their chest ahead of the Group G clash at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
"I haven't spoken to Didier and I don't now if he is going to play tomorrow, but I hope so because he is a friend," said Deco. "He is a good player. He's a friend of mine and a Chelsea player. If he plays, it will be good for the game."
There were initial fears that Drogba's tournament could be over before it had begun when he first sustained the injury during Côte d'Ivoire's warm-up game against Japan in Switzerland on 4 June.
But, following successful surgery, there is a growing belief that he could yet have a significant role to play in South Africa, and Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz has been in the game too long to be surprised if his name appears on the teamsheet tomorrow afternoon.
He is a good player. He's a friend of mine and a Chelsea player. If he plays, it will be good for the game.
Queiroz said: "What is important for me as the coach of the Portuguese national team is to worry about my own players. Obviously, I'm not a doctor, so I can't say if Didier Drogba is going to be playing. It is a fracture and the doctors from the Ivory Coast together with [coach] Mr [Sven-Goran] Eriksson will have to make that decision. But, after 30 years in football, there's nothing that surprises me."
The Portugal squad flew into Port Elizabeth this afternoon and headed straight to the stadium to train. They have been drawn into a tough group, with Brazil and Korea DPR making up the foursome, and Queiroz knows there will be a major fight for the two available berths in the last 16.
He said: "With all due respect to North Korea, there are three teams for two places. We could be the best three teams at the World Cup, but the regulations only allow two to go forward.
"What is important is that we win tomorrow. A World Cup is something that doesn't allow you to make mistakes, so from the beginning, we want to get the three points. But we have nine points to play for and the first three points are as important as the last."