2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™

2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™

11 June - 11 July

2010 FIFA World Cup™

Dunga: It's not the Group of Death

Brazil coach Dunga attends the Final Draw for the FIFA World Cup 2010
© Getty Images

Dunga, Brazil coachI don’t like all that 'Group of Death' stuff. If you look at the draw, you’ll see that all the groups, perhaps with the exception of Spain’s, are very even. North Korea are, in theory, a weaker side, but it’s tricky playing against a team you don’t know much about. For us, our opening game is the most difficult one. Then it will be our second game and so on. Côte d’Ivoire are going to make us work very hard. Most of their players are at big European clubs and they have [Didier] Drogba, who is one of the world’s best strikers. African teams no longer fit with people’s preconceptions; they’ve allied competitiveness to their technical ability. And of course we’ve got a huge rivalry with Portugal. We’ve played twice against them recently, winning one and losing one, but this will be a different story altogether – it’s the World Cup. They’ve got three Brazilians (Pepe, Deco and Liedson) in their team so it’s going to be like Brazil vs Brazil B. What’s more, it’s going to be nice to see the healthy rivalry between Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka, two of the best players on the planet who play for the same club side. It’s a balanced group but that’s what we expected. From a logistical perspective, it’ll be interesting to play our first two games in Johannesburg.

Vahid Halilhodzic, Côte d’Ivoire coachTo be honest it’s a terrible group. Very, very difficult. Brazil are second in the FIFA World Ranking and Portugal are fifth. It’s hard to imagine anything worse than that. Before the draw I said: “I’ll take anyone except Brazil or Spain.” I think a black cat must have followed me here in Cape Town. But there’s no point cursing our luck now. We’re here and we’re going to give it everything we’ve got. I know that my team are capable of springing a surprise, even against Brazil or Portugal. I even think that the fact we’re facing these teams could motivate my players more. I really hope that we can cause an upset.

Carlos Queiroz, Portugal coachI’m pleased. It’s a fantastic group for world football. And we’ve got North Korea too, a team that triggers good memories of the 1966 World Cup (when Portugal came back from three goals down to beat Korea DPR 5-3 in the quarter-finals). All we’re missing now are Hungary, Pele and Eusebio! Deep down, I hope that we’re already qualified by the time we face Brazil in our third match, but counting on that would be to show a lack of respect for our other two opponents. When one of the teams in the group is Brazil, who’ve won five world titles, I’ve no hesitation in saying that they’re the favourites. Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka being together at Real Madrid will be interesting, but it doesn’t stop there. Look at Chelsea, for instance, who’ve got both Portuguese and Ivorian players. I think there’s going to be an intriguing atmosphere at a number of clubs. As for the match between 'Brazil A and Brazil B', I think that’s an amusing way of looking at it. But anyway, I’m sure that just as many of the Brazilians have Portuguese grandparents or great-grandparents, so I think that makes us even. The only thing that’s certain is that it’ll be a great contest.

Ahn Yong-Hak, Korea DPR midfielderBefore I turned on the television for the Final Draw I had hoped to avoid the likes of Brazil and Portugal. But when the results were clear after the draw, my second thoughts told me that it couldn't be better to play the top teams in the world's most prestigious football competition. Now we have learned the hurdles we have to overcome in the world cup and we need to prepare properly if we are to achieve satisfying outcomes.

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