Côte d'Ivoire boss Sven-Goran Eriksson has warned people not to write off Group G rivals Korea DPR. Kim Jong Hun's side are currently bottom of the group after Tuesday's 2-1 defeat by Brazil at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, although they made life uncomfortable for the five-time FIFA World Cup™ winners for long periods.
Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz had forecast both before and after his side's opening 0-0 draw with Les Elephants earlier the same day that those two sides would battle it out with Brazil for the two qualification spots.
However, while Eriksson admits the North Koreans are the group's outsiders, he insists their chances cannot be dismissed as they prepare for Monday's clash with the Portuguese in Cape Town.
You never know what will happen in the next round of matches and how important the last games will be.
"On paper, I agree with Carlos Queiroz - on paper. But pay attention to North Korea, you never know," said Eriksson. "South Korea play good football and if I am not wrong, South Korea and North Korea were both in the same qualification group, so I think we should respect them. You never know what will happen in the next round of matches and how important the last games will be."
Korea DPR drew 1-1 with their neighbours from the South in Shanghai and lost 1-0 in the return in Seoul as they qualified for the finals in second place in their group ahead of Saudi Arabia on goal difference.